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MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR (nForce2 Ultra 400)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Mainboard
Published by Jimmy Tang on Monday, 30th June, 2003
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

With the Ahtlon 64 looming in the horizon, it looks like the Socket-A platform is on its last lap. Even so, most chipset vendors are giving their full support to Socket-A and the three major AMD motherboard chipset manufactures have all released their latest incarnations. Will they be the last to support Socket-A? That would be difficult to foresee since the Ahtlon XP has an impressive CPU line-up and the platform itself could easily last through the next year.

One of the recent entrants was NVIDIA’s nForce2 Ultra 400, which is slowly replacing the older motherboards bearing the original nForce2 SPP. Good thing that the nForce2 Ultra 400 is just a higher yield version of the original nForce2 SPP with the same ball/pin count, but on a newer packaging; this makes easy transitioning for motherboard vendors to integrate the chipset on their existing nForce2 motherboards. The nForce2 Ultra 400 was validated to operate at FSB400 and was also marketed to have better overclocking potential. However, we found out through our Soltek SL-75FRN2-L motherboard review that NVIDIA did not work close enough with the motherboard vendors, which resulted in huge RAM incompatibility problems due to timing issues. Only particular RAM modules synced well with the new chipset and helped us complete our benchmark suite. The problem seems to originate from the BIOS which was not properly optimized for the new chipset. We certainly hope that this will be an issue of the past as time goes on and with manufacturers updating their BIOS consistently.

MSI is just one of the many nForce2 motherboard vendors that has also moved forward with the new nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset variants and has completely phased out its older models based on the initial nForce2 SPP. The new motherboards sporting the nForce2 Ultra 400 are known as the MSI K7N2 Delta series with two models: the K7N2 Delta-L (nForce2 Ultra 400 + MCP2) and K7N2 Delta-ILSR (nForce2 Ultra 400 + MCP2-T). If you recalled the timeline during the original nForce2 SPP, MSI was actively marketing theirs as an affordable and simple nForce2 solution via the K7N2-L, whereas the IGP version was decked to the brim with features.


With the nForce2 Ultra 400 this time around, MSI is actively pursuing the feature-hungry enthusiasts and overclockers who would normally hunt for high-end boards with extra overclocking headroom. Since the new nForce2 Ultra 400 is known to give power users the overclockability they need, MSI pumped the K7N2 Delta-ILSR with more on-board features. Check out the specifications below and go over to the next few pages to see how it compares with the recently reviewed Soltek SL-75FRN2.

MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR (nForce2 Ultra 400) Technical Specifications
Processor
  • Socket A for AMD Athlon XP / Duron processors
  • AMD Athlon Processors up to 1.4GHz
  • AMD Athlon XP Processors 1500+ to 3200+
  • AMD Duron Processors up to 1.3GHz
  • Supports processors at 200 / 266 / 333 / 400MHz front side bus
Chipset
  • NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400 SPP North Bridge
    • Supports DDR200 / DDR266 / DDR333 / DDR400 memory technology up to 3GB
    • 200 / 266 / 333 / 400MHz front side bus
    • AGP 4x/8x (1.5V only)
    • Dynamic Adaptive Speculative (DASP)
    • DualDDR Memory Architecture
    • HyperTransport Bus (800MB/s)
  • NVIDIA nForce2 MCP-T South Bridge
    • NVIDIA Audio Processing Unit (with Dolby Digital Interactive Content Encoder)
    • NVIDIA StreamThru
    • NVIDIA Enhanced Communications Suite
    • NVIDIA DualNet
    • 2-channel Ultra ATA 133/100/66/33 Bus Mastering IDE controller
    • Supports up to six USB 2.0 ports
    • IEEE1394a/Firewire controller
    • Supports AC-97 audio and MC-97 modem codec
    • PCI 2.2 interface
    • HyperTransport Bus (800MB/s)
Cache memory
  • CPU Built-in 512KB (Athlon XP -Barton core) or 256KB (Athlon/Athlon XP) or 64KB (Duron) L2 cache
System memory
  • 3 x 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM
  • Supports DDR 200/266/333/400 DIMM Module
  • Supports 2.5V DDR SDRAM
  • Supports a maximum of 3GB of memory with 1GB DIMM
  • Dual DDR Memory Architecture
PCI IDE
  • 2 x bus master UDMA-33/66/100/133 IDE ports (up to 4 devices)
    • Support for PIO, UDMA-33, UDMA-66, UDMA-100, UDMA-133 IDE devices
  • Built-in Promise PDC20376 ATA-133 IDE/RAID controller using one ATA133 and/or two Serial ATA connectors
I/O Interface
  • 1x floppy connector (360KB - 2.88MB)
  • 1x serial port
  • 1x parallel port (SPP/EPP/ECP)
  • 1x PS/2 Keyboard
  • 1x PS/2 Mouse
  • 6x USB 2.0 ports (4x ports in the rear, 2x ports via D-bracket)
  • 2 x IEEE1394a/Firewire ports on Bracket (via Agere FW803 PHY)
  • 1x IrDA TX/RX header for SIR/ASKIR/IRDA
  • Audio ports for on-board sound (Line-Out, Line-In, Mic) based on 6-channel Realtek ALC650 AC'97 sound codec and NVIDIA SoundStorm APU.
  • 1x Bluetooth header
  • 1x  RJ-45 10/100 LAN port (NVIDIA controller)
  • MSI S-Bracket
  • MSI D-Bracket
Expansion slots
  • 5x 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.2 compliant
  • 1x ACR slot
  • 1 x 1.5V / 0.8V AGP 2.0/3.0 (2x/4x/8x mode) slot
Power Management
  • Supports ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface)
  • Supports Suspend to RAM / Disk (S3 / S4)
  • PC2001 Compliant
  • WOR by PME
  • Power-on by switch, keyboard
  • Power-off by Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP/NT shut down and switch
Form Factor
  • ATX Form Factor : 30.5cm x 23cm
  • Fits into regular ATX case
BIOS
  • 4Mbit (512KB) Flash ROM
  • Award Flash BIOS with PnP, APM, DMI, and ACPI support
  • Multi-boot on LS120, ZIP, ATAPI CD-ROM, SCSI, IDE #1, #2, #3, #4

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