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Intel 915P Shootout : MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Vijay Anand on Sunday, 27th February, 2005

MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum (The Good)

As a high-end board, MSI no longer feels the need to play 'intermediary' with dual support for older technologies. The board is fully intended for tech adopters, thus we see strict DDR2 only memory support. With four DDR2 DIMM slots, you can have a maximum of 4GB of memory in dual channel configuration. The 915P Neo2 Platinum also uses the ICH6R Southbridge component, which adds Intel Matrix Storage and RAID support back into its SATA controller. MSI retains the VIA VT6410 IDE RAID controller on the board, enhancing regular IDE support with additional Ultra ATA channels. This is a step up from the 915P Combo, which only featured IDE RAID.

VIA VT6410 IDE RAID controller.

Unlike the 915P Combo, the 915P Neo2 Platinum makes good for the layout of primay storage and ATX power connectors.

SATA and secondary IDE connectors are located towards the bottom. Both are RAID capable.

Another inclusion on the 915P Neo2 Platinum is FireWire support. Using a VIA controller, the Fire II VT6306 brings IEEE 1394a capabilities to the board. Three ports are available as headers since the rear panel design doesn't accommodate for one. Thankfully, a two-port bracket is provided.

Via's Fire II VT6306 single chip IEEE 1394a controller.

Green for IEEE 1394a connectors ...

... and yellow for additional USB 2.0 connectors.

The two provided brackets include one for FireWire and another for USB with MSI's D-Bracket 2 diagnostic LEDs.

The rest of the components are similar to those used in the MSI 915P Combo. However, instead of the Marvell ASIC used in the 915P Combo, MSI uses a Broadcom BCM5751KFB. Both are Gigabit Ethernet controllers based on PCI Express, so there will not be any differences as far as user experience is concerned. Audio is powered by C-Media's CMI9880L CODEC. This is the same CODEC used in the 915P Combo and is fully compliant with Intel's Azalia, supporting up to 8 channels of high definition audio playback.

The Broadcom controller provides Gigabit LAN speeds on the PCI Express bus.

C-Media's CMI9880L 8-channel HD Audio CODEC.

The rear panel layout and connectors are exactly the same as the 915P Combo.

The following overclocking options are available for the MSI 915P Neo2 Platinum:-

  • FSB Settings: 200MHz to 500MHz
  • PCIe Frequency: 100-133MHz
  • PCI Frequency: 33.3MHz, 36.3, 40MHz
  • RAM Frequency: DDR400, DDR533, DDR600, DDR667, DDR700, DDR710
  • CPU Voltage Settings: 1.3625-1.5500V (in 0.0125V steps)
  • Chipset Voltage Settings: 1.50-1.80V (in 0.05V steps), 1.80-2.20V (in 0.10V steps)
  • Memory Voltage Settings: 1.80-2.40V (in 0.05V)
  • Multiplier Selection: Yes (unlocked CPUs only)
  • D.O.T.: Private (1%), Sergeant (3%), Captain (5%), Colonel (7%), General (10%), Commander (15%)

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