The RS400 (Intel)
and RS480 (AMD) share the same Radeon Xpress 200 chipset nomenclature which
makes things a bit confusing. That's why we'll be referring to the
Radeon Xpress 200 chipset found on the RS480M2-IL as the RS480 which should make
The ATI RS480 chipset supports AMD Athlon64/FX as well as
Sempron processors, although ATi does not state which form factors specifically (we know Socket
Integrated into the northbridge is a videocard derived from the
DirectX 9 Radeon X300 architecture. The processor connects to the RS480
Northbridge via a 1.0 GHz HyperTransport connection that is 16-bits wide both up
DirectX and the story behind it...
Before Microsoft released DirectX, there were two 3D APIs (Application
Programming Interface), Glide (specific to 3DFX) and OpenGL. These two
competing standards were very different and graphic development was slow
as a result.
In 1995, Microsoft released the DirectX standard, directly competing
with the other two. Glide died off in the early 2000's when 3dfx went
under and OpenGL has not advanced as quickly as DirectX since. DirectX
allows for easier access to the Windows operating system so it became the
logical choice once Windows became the dominant PC gaming platform in the
Thanks to Microsoft, the gaming world is rather uniform now. Game
developers and manufacturers focus on DirectX and we've seen some great
advancement in 3D technology over the last few years. There are times when
a monopoly is bad, but this is definitely not one of those times, At least
for PC gamers...
The RS480 supports one PCI Express x16 connector for the videocard as
well as four individual PCI Express x1 lanes for peripherals. The integrated
videocard supports TV, CRT and DVI output but the last option
is not available on the RS480M2-IL. The RS480 is connected to the IXP400
Southbridge via a PCI Express x2 connection.
The IXP400 Southbridge supports eight USB 2.0
ports, four Serial ATA generation one HDDs, four Ultra/133 IDE HDDs, a
7.1 channel soundcard and up to five PCI devices. The IXP400 can do RAID
but only modes 0 and 1 are currently available. The specifications of the IXP400 seem a
bit dated compared to the competition from nVidia and VIA, so hopefully ATi will
revamp its Southbridge lineup in the near future.
In this section of the review we
would usually discuss overclocking, but unfortunately there are no overclocking options
in the RS480M2-IL's BIOS. Hopefully MSI will include this in retail versions or
in subsequent BIOS updates.