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MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI Motherboard Review

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The motherboard supports Socket 939 AMD Athlon64 processors with HyperTransport running at a smooth 1 GHz.
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Computer Feb 24 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI Computer K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI

Lot of integrated peripherals!

Like every other flagship Athlon64 motherboard on the market, the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI is very well equipped. We were especially happy to find a proper hardware soundcard used, instead of common audio codec.

We've long complained about the quality of sound from onboard audio codecs (though they have gotten much better as of late) and the amount of system resources they can take up. With a dedicated Creative hardware sound card built into the K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI motherboard, users should not have to worry about either of these issues.

[Update: Be advised that information PCstats previously quoted which stated "192kHz/24-bit sound quality" for the K8N Neo4 SLI is incorrect, it should be 96kHz/24-bit. Also, the onboard Creative SoundBlaster Live! does not have a Dolby Interactive Content Encoder built into the soundcard. The information that we quoted was also incorrect.]

The onboard Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit samples at 96 KHz and features full support for Creative's EAX HD technology.

Pretty impressive for an onboard soundcard don't you think!? You won't have to buy a third party hardware soundcard to get quality audio out of this board.

The MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI also features an additional Serial ATA II /RAID controller, which is a nice treat. Serial ATA II offers a whole host of improvements over the original Serial ATA standard, not just a speed increase.

With SATAII, overall bandwidth doubles to 3Gb/s (with supporting drives), though I doubt we'll see hard drive transfer speeds actually reach that speed any time soon. The extra bandwidth is useful when you figure in the Sil3132's port multiplier capabilities. With the ability to connect up to 60 HDDs onto one Serial ATA II connection (again with compatible drives and port multiplier hardware) 3Gb/s worth of bandwidth seems almost tiny! Not that you need to worry about that for the moment, Port Multiplier devices are not available yet, and neither are compatible Serial ATA II hard drives.

NCQ (Native Command Queuing) has also been integrated into the controller, which allows the HDD to collect data out of sequence for faster data transfers/access. Finally, the Silicon Image Sil3132 supports RAID, specifically RAID modes 0 and 1 although when a Port Multiplier is used in conjunction with drives. RAID 0+1 and 5 are also possible.

The MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI comes with two Gigabit network ports, neither of which, I'm happy to report, run on the PCI bus. The first integrated nVIDIA Gigabit network card connects to the nForce4 MCP via an "Intel CSA" style direct connection. The second Marvell 88EE1111 Gigabit NIC runs along the PCI Express 1x bus. This means that even if both Gigabit network cards were running at full speed, your system would have plenty of bandwidth available to do other things too.

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Contents of Article: MSI Computer K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI
 Pg 1.  MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Lot of integrated peripherals!
 Pg 3.  nForce4 Technology Loving
 Pg 4.  Overclocking, BIOS and test system specs
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SYSmark2004
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 12.  Fast and well equipped, that's MSI for you...

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