MSI 845Pro2 i845 SDRAM Motherboard Review
chipset is known to be one of the slowest P4 chipsets out there because
SDRAM is just not advanced enough to supply the Pentium 4 processor with the
necessary amounts of bandwidth it craves. The only good side of combining a
Pentium 4 (socket 423 no less) with SDRAM is on the sellers side, where
costs are a lot lower than if DDR was used. Good for your grandmother
maybe, but this is definitely not a performance motherboard.
With a retail price of $140 CDN, the 845 Pro2 is probably
one of the cheapest Pentium 4 motherboards around from a good name brand. As the
board uses still uses the older Socket 423 it is not exactly a shining example of
upgradability. The 845Pro2 has three DIMM slots that can accommodate up to 3GB of PC100/PC133
SDRAM, a 4X AGP slot with 1.5V lock (meaning only videocards that are 1.5V compliant will work
with the motherboard - this is a limitation of the chipset). Five PCI's
allow for ample expansion expansion room in the "future" should you need to. MSI have
also included onboard audio which is taken care of by VIA's AC'97 software
Ships with the following:
- IDE ATA66/100 Cable
- FDD Cable
- Driver CD
- User Manual
- USB bracket
layout of the MSI 845Pro2 is acceptable and easy to work with once installed in
a case. The usual stuff we don't much like are the placement
of the ATX power connectors behind the parallel ports - this puts the power cables over
the CPU fan which cad disrupts airflow. The placement of the IDE/floppy drive connectors which I
would normally say are too low, are in a fine position as this
board is not likely to ever see the inside of a large case. Three full
length PCI cards can be used in the in the board without any IDE interference
issues. Since the board only has five PCI slots, we were a bit surprised that
we still needed to remove the videocard to install the memory.
It was nice
to see that MSI uses a rather large orange heatsink for the i845 northbridge even though
it didn't get too hot during our testing. Heck, you can never have
enough cooling right! The AGP slot has an AGP lock so the videocard will stay in
place even during transportation (to a LAN party perhaps). The onboard audio isn't
the best, however if you're on a very tight budget this board is going
to give you what works.
For those who are interested in overclocking this board was up to the
task remarkably. The Award BIOS allows for the usual tweaks we'd expect from MSI, however our
Pentium 4 1.7 GHz Socket 423 chip wasn't a very good overclocker.
highest we could push the chip and board was up to 111 MHz FSB. Not bad
and we're pretty sure that it was the CPU holding us back.
Test System Specs:|
||Intel Pentium 4 1.7 GHz|
17 x 100 MHz = 1.7 GHz
MSI GeForce 3 Ti500 (MS-8850)
OCZ ICE PC150 SDRAM
||40GB IBM DeskStar 60 GXP |
||Panasonic 48x CD-ROM CR-594-B
Panasonic 1.44MB Floppy Drive
||Antec 400W PSU |
||Windows 2000 Pro + SP2|
Business Winstone 2001
SiSoft Sandra 2002 Pro
SYSmark2001 uses real world applications
concurrently as an accurate way to test the system by following patterns that
reflect the way real users work. SYSmark2001's workloads accurately represent
today's updated business usage model. The benchmark runs at a realistic
execution speed, with think times between application interactions, in order to
emulate a desktop user's interaction with the operating system and applications.
Higher numbers denote better performance.
|BapCo SysMark 2001 Benchmark Results
reason the 845Pro2 just wouldn't complete the Internet Content portion of
SysMark2001. Every time it crashed at Photoshop. Very weird. Still as we can see,
the board doesn't fair too well, those are some of the lowest numbers we've ever seen.
Content Creation Winstone
2001 keeps multiple applications open at once and switches among those
applications. Content Creation Winstone 2001's activities focus on what we call
"hot spots," periods of activity that make your PC really work--the times where
you're likely to see an hourglass or a progress bar.
Business Winstone is a
system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall
performance when running today's Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98
ME, Windows NT 4.0 (SP6 or later), Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows XP which
runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time
a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance
|Winstone 2001 Benchmark Results|
||Content Creation (FSB/Memory)
Like SysMark2001, the 845Pro2 fails every time Business Winstone
2001 is used! We're not sure what's going on here either.
In Content Creation 2001, the board doesn't do well even when overclocked.