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MSI P965 Neo (Intel P965)
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Zachary Chan on Friday, 21st July, 2006
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

Every time the PC industry forces a new platform into the market, it's the users that always get left behind. With AMD, it was an expensive upgrade path and core component overhaul to adopt Socket AM2, but Intel isn't all that better off either. Yes, the new Core 2 processors are more 'upgrade' friendly as they are still based on the LGA775 socket, but most older LGA775 motherboards don't really support the new CPU.

Barring the huge population of enthusiasts out there who are able to just continuously upgrade to the latest and baddest hardware with impunity, we of finite monetary resources have to strike a balance of features and performance. Will you blow your budget on a feature-rich motherboard and settle for a less powerful processor? Or do away with extra features for a higher-end CPU.

The MSI P965 Neo motherboard.

This is where MSI's new P965 'Broadwater' motherboards come into play. MSI only carries a modest two-board lineup that clearly distinguishes the line between feature-rich performance (P965 Platinum) and mainstream (P965 Neo). Fresh from reviewing the high-end Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 a while back, we were curious as to how the P965 chipset would perform in a mainstream configuration like the P965 Neo. After playing around with the MSI P965 Neo, our results were not all that unexpected, but we did make some interesting observations. Read on to find out what they are, but before we start though, we'll let you familiarize yourself with the board's technical specifications.

The following bundle is available to the MSI P965 Neo motherboard:-
  • 1 x SATA data cable
  • 1 x SATA power converter cable
  • 1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • I/O shield
  • Driver CDs
  • User's guide

    MSI P965 Neo Technical Specifications
    CPU Support
    • Supports 90nm/65nm LGA775 processor package
    • Supports Intel Core 2 Duo / Core 2 Extreme
    • Supports Intel Pentium D / Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 
    • Supports Intel Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
    • Intel Virtualization Technology ready
    Chipset
    • Northbridge: Intel P965
      • 533 / 800 / 1066MHz front side bus
      • PCI Express x16 graphics
    • Southbridge: Intel ICH8
      • Intel High Definition Audio
      • Supports six PCI Express x1 lanes
      • Supports up to ten USB 2.0 ports
      • Supports four SATA 3.0Gbps ports
      • Integrated 10/100/1000Mbps MAC
      • Intel Quiet System Technology
    Memory
    • Supports four unbuffered DIMM of 1.8 Volt DDR2 SDRAM
    • Supports 800/677/533 dual channel DDR2 memory architecture
    Storage
    • Intel ICH8 Southbridge
      • 4 x SATA 3.0Gbps interface
    • JMicron JMB361 SATA/IDE Controller
      • 2 x Ultra ATA 33/66/100/133 (data transfer rate up to 133MB/sec.)
      • 1 x SATA 3.0Gbps interface
      • Supports AHCI and NCQ
    Audio
    • Intel High Definition Audio (Azalia)
    • Realtek ALC883 8-channel HD Audio CODEC
    Networking
    • Realtek RTL8110SC PCI Gigabit Ethernet controller
    I/O Interface
    • 1 x Floppy connector
    • 1 x Ultra ATA IDE connectors
    • 5 x SATA connectors
    • 10 x USB 2.0 ports (4 x rear, 6 x header)
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 8-Channel Audio I/O ports
    • 1 x 9-pin serial port
    • 1 x parallel port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
    • 1 x mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
    Expansion Slots
    • 1 x PCIe x16 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 2 x PCIe x1 slots, PCI Express Bus specification v1.0a compliant
    • 3 x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.3 compliant
    Special Features
    • D.O.T. Express (Dynamic Overclocking Technology)
    PCB
    • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.4cm)
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