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MSI 845Pro2-R Motherboard Review

MSI 845Pro2-R Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The MSI 845 Pro2 (model: MS-6528) is a six PCI slot packing socket 478 Pentium 4 solution with 3 DIMM's capable of supporting upto 3GB of PC133 SDRAM.
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Nov 23 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI 845Pro2-R

845Pro2-R Motherboard Features

SDRAM Memory

The 845Pro2-R supports up to three PC133 SDRAM modules of 1.0GB in size, for a total of up to 3GB. The i845 chipset doesn't do the best job of supporting PC100 so you'd be taking your chances using such dated memory on this board.

Heatsink Mounts

With the introduction of the newer socket 478 Pentium 4 architecture, motherboard manufacturers had to yet again redesign their layouts to support large heatsinks. The socket 423 and socket 478 architectures are not compatible by nature, but different heatsink manufacturers may offer dual purpose heatsinks. In any case, the small socket 478 is really too tiny to attach anything to, so a standoff is mounted to the PCB which the heatsink attaches directly to.

The proximity of capacitors to the processor has always been a bit of a double edged sword. The closer the capacitors are, the more interference is filtered out. The problem with this from a cooling perspective is that, closely placed capacitors can interfere with airflow around the processor, potentially leading to higher running temps. While the situation is much more controlled than on AMD boards where some heatsinks won't even fit on the board, draping power cables and capacitors can still muck up ideal air flow patterns.

The processor socket is closely surrounded by tall capacitors on one side, potentially causing air flow issues. The 12V ATX and 5V/3V ATX power connectors are located centrally on the board and don't really get in the way.

Fan Headers

There are a total of three fan headers on the 845Pro2-R. One is taken up by the processor heatsink, while the other two remain free for use with system fans, or graphics card cooling. Two fan headers are positioned near to the processor socket itself, and the third lies towards the front on the lower end of the board.

Sometimes these important little fan connectors can get stuck in the most awkward of places, but this wasn't the case with the MSI board. All of the fan headers are easily reachable and the need for super small fingers or tweezers in not necessary.

i845 Heatsink

Thermally, the i845 chipset is cooled by a custom orange heatsink with thermal interface material and a foam ring to add support during mounting. The foam ring helps to prevent the heatsink from being mounted on an angle and thereby chipping the core of the exposed i845 die. A small fan on the heatsink helps to blow air through the heatsink and prevent the possibility of overheating.

The i845 chipset heatsink is a small active cooler with decent thermal interface material.

The 845Pro2-R ships with an external USB bracket that brings the total number of USB ports to four. A cable runs from the USB bracket and attaches to the lower-end of the motherboard. The bracket also houses the external Dr. LED diagnostic LED's for easy trouble shooting when the board is installed.

The AGP 2.0 interface uses a nice little retention clip to lock the (1X, 2X, 4X) 1.5V AGP card solidly in place. To remove the card from the slot, simply press down on the little white lever and the rear part of the card will pop out. 3.3V AGP cards are not supported.

Other features which round out the 845 Pro2-R include wake on LAN, CNR, wake on ring, remote power on/off, power saving suspend, suspend to RAM, hardware monitoring, and CD/AUD/Modem-In audio connectors. On board audio is supported thanks to the C-Media CMI8738 chipset, but once you plug in a pair of headphones you'll really want to get a full-feature sound card. Static isn't that noticeable when the sound is coming out of a pair of speakers, or perhaps jumping through a multimedia LCD TFT display, but when you're directly connected it can be kind of annoying.

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Contents of Article: MSI 845Pro2-R
 Pg 1.  MSI 845Pro2-R Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — 845Pro2-R Motherboard Features
 Pg 3.  The BIOS Features
 Pg 4.  Conclusions

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