MSI P965 Neo
Now it's to our last board for this roundup, the MSI P965 Neo which is MSI's cheaper board in their P965 range. The board is actually smaller than the rest of the group measuring a standard ATX layout size. This board will fit into the more compact ATX cases on the market. The PCB is a red colour that MSI uses for its mainstream products.
Placement of connectors is really a mixed affair - the 24-pin power and 4-pin CPU port are between the Northbridge heatsink and the I/O ports, not the best place for them at all. The IDE port is located near the SATA ports at the bottom right of the board, which is not too bad. The FDD connector is really in the worst place at the bottom middle of the board which is just a horrible place to put it.
Layout around the CPU is reasonably clean. The board features a 4 phase power system for the CPU and is not cooled by any external means.
The rear I/O is setup to MSI's mainstream standards. There are no e.SATA ports, SPDIF ports or any extra features here.
Lastly we are onto expansion slots. MSI goes for a single PCI Express x16 slot (like the Foxconn motherboard, ATI Crossfire support is not possible), 2 PCI Express x1 slots and 3 PCI slots. For additional controllers there is only a single JMicron chip for the IDE controller.
As far as features go, out of all the motherboards in this roundup the MSI has the least amount but that should make pricing more affordable and that's something we will look into later.