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MSI P4N SLI (NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition)
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Jimmy Tang on Tuesday, 27th September, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

Mainstream versions of the nForce4 SLI has not only appeared for AMD solutions but for their Intel Edition counterparts as well. We've just completed our review of the ABIT NI8 SLI and we now take a look at an offering from MSI, the P4N SLI. MSI's approach to a mainstream nForce4 SLI Intel Edition is very much similar to how they made its AMD counterpart, the K8N SLI. Based off the superb P4N Diamond, MSI removes a few features here and there, repacks the board and you have yourself a budget friendly LGA775 motherboard with SLI functionality.

Unlike the AMD scene where the K8N SLI was designed to fill in the same segment as the nForce4 Ultra, NVIDIA currently has but one chipset to cater to the high-end Intel platform. With this move, the P4N SLI becomes a direct competition to Intel's own mainstream chipsets, the 915P Express and 945P Express although the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition is really in a class of its own. With cheap SLI capabilities within reach of the mass market, boards like the P4N SLI should be a hit with gamers, especially since they can channel their excess budget for other upgrades. However, there were a couple of hiccups with MSI's implementation of the K8N SLI and we're sure you'd like to know if the P4N SLI shares the same flaws, so let's get on with the review.

The MSI P4N SLI motherboard.

The P4N SLI has the following bundle included in its packaging:-
  • 2 x SATA data cables
  • 1 x SATA power converter cable (dual plugs)
  • 1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • SLI high-speed digital link interface bridge
  • IEEE 1394a (2 ports) bracket
  • I/O shield
  • CPU Clip
  • SATA Driver Diskette
  • Driver CD
  • Quick user's guide

    MSI P4N SLI Technical Specifications
    CPU Support
    • Supports 90nm LGA775 processor package
    • Supports Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 
    • Supports Intel Pentium D Smithfield processors
    • Supports Intel Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors
    • Intel Hyper-Threading Technology ready
    Chipset
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition SPP
      • 400 - 1066MHz front side bus
      • NVIDIA DualDDR2 Memory Controller
      • One x16 PCI Express link for graphics card. 
        • Supports Scalable Link Interface Technology (SLI) for dual PCIe x8 interfaces
      • Supports up to four PCI Express x1 lanes
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition MCP
      • Supports up to ten USB 2.0 ports
      • Supports four SATA II ports
      • Dual-channel Ultra ATA-133 IDE controller
      • Supports up to six PCI slots
    Memory
    • NVIDIA DualDDR2 architecture
      • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets support max. 4GB DDR2 400/533/667 non-ECC memory
      • Slot independant dual-channel mode
      • NVIDIA QuickSync
      • NVIDIA DASP 3.0
    Storage
    • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition MCP
      • 4 x Ultra ATA 33/66/100/133 (data transfer rate up to 133MB/sec.)
      • 4 x SATA II (Serial ATA II 3.0Gbps interface)
      • NVIDIA MediaShield Technology
      • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5, JBOD
      • Supports RAID Morphing
    Audio
    • Realtek ALC850 8-channel audio CODEC
    • Coaxial, Optical S/PDIF out on back I/O port
    Networking
    • NVIDIA Gigabit LAN co-supported by Marvell 88E1111 PHY chip (Transceiver)
    IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
    • VIA Fire II VT6306 Host Controller
    • 3 x 1394a ports @ 400 Mbps speed
    I/O Interface
    • 1 x Floppy connector
    • 2 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
    • 4 x SATA connectors
    • 10 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x rear, 6 x header)
    • 3 x IEEE 1394a ports (1 x rear, 2 x bracket)
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
    • 1 x 9-pin serial port (bracket)
    • 1 x parallel port (SPP/EPP/ECP)
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
    Expansion Slots
    • 2 x PCIe x16 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 2 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 2 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
    Special Features
    • D.O.T. Express (Dynamic Overclocking Technology)
    • CoreCell
    • Live Update 3
    • DigiCell
    • CoreCenter
    PCB
    • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)


    Rear I/O panel with a full range of connectors.
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