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MSI i845PE Max2-FIR: MSI kicks out their latest Pentium 4 board, and it packs a lot of the usual features, as well as some forward looking ones, such as Hyperthreading support, and Gigabit Ethernet.
 
 
Date: November 4, 2002
Manufacturer:
Written By:

By now, the i845PE chipset enabled motherboards should be readily available from all the big manufacturers. Today, we'll be examining the , one of two MSI's newest Pentium 4 boards using Intel's latest DDR chipset. The other, the GE, is the version with integrated graphics.

All the usual suspects are here, such as USB2.0, RAID, integrated sound, but two noteworthy additions are the official support for DDR333 and Intel's Hyperthreading Technology. For those of you not in the know, Hyperthreading allows a supported CPU and OS to effectively split the chip into two virtual processors and run it in parallel. These virtual CPUs can run separate instruction threads the same time, and according to Intel, there can be a performance boost of up to 25% in multithreaded apps.

Specifications

CPU
" Supports Socket 478 for Intel® Pentium 4 processor
" Supports up 3.06G/533MHz and higher speed
Chipset
" Intel® 845PE chipset
- FSB 533 MHz.
- Supports DDR 266/333 DDR technology.
- 1.5 V AGP 4X and PCI advanced high performance memory controller.
" Intel® ICH4 chipset (421 BGA)
- Integrated Direct Sound AC97 audio.
- Dual channel Ultra DMA 66/100 master mode IDE controller.
- ACPI & PC2001 compliant enhanced power management.
- Integrated USB 2.0 controller.

FSB
" Support 100/133MHz FSB
" Support 400/533MHz Intel NetBurst micro-architecture bus.

Main Memory
" Supports four memory banks using three 184-pin DDR DIMMs.
" Supports up to 2GB PC2700/PC2100 DDR SDRAMs.
" Supports 2.5v DDR SDRAM.

Slots
" One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) slot.
- Supports AGP 1.5 4x.
" Six 32-bit Master PCI Bus slots.
" One CNR (Communication Network Riser) slot.

On-Board IDE
" Dual IDE controllers integrated in Promise 20275/20276.
" PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA66/100/133 operation modes.

Promise RAID
" ATA133 IDE RAID, 0 or 1

On-Board Peripherals
" 1 floppy port supports 2 FDDs with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M
and 2.88Mbytes
" 1 serial port (COM A)
" 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode.
" 1 IrDA connector for with Intel® & MSI pin-definition
" 1 Line-in/Line-out/MIC port
" C-Media 8738 6 channel audio SPDIF (Optional)
" 6 USB 2.0 ports (Rear * 4/ Front * 2)
" 1 RJ-45 LAN jack (optional)
" 1394 port controlled by VT6306 (Optional)

Audio
" C-Media 8738MX 6-channel audio.

Gigabit Lan (Optional)
" Intel® 82540EM/82551/82562ET Dual layout.
- Integrated Fast Ethernet MAC and PHY in one chip.
- Supports 10Mb/s, 100Mb/s and 1000Mb/s.
- Compliance with PCI 2.2.
- Supports ACPI Power Management.

BIOS
" The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
" The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface (DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.
" Supports Multi-Language

Dimension
" 30.5 cm(L) x 24.5 cm(W) ATX Form Factor

Mounting
" 9 mounting holes

Special Features
• Live BIOS™
• Live Driver™
• Live Monitor™
• D-Bracket™ 2
• S-Bracket™
• Fuzzy Logic 4™
• PC Alert™ 4
• MSI DVD 5.1 Channel
Gigabit LAN, IEEE 1394, ATA133 RAID

MSI could have easily replaced the Northbridge found on the i845E Max2-BLR, and called it a day, but credit to them for making a few changes such as adding Intel's RC82540EM Gigabit LAN chip. We'll look more at this later on.

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