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MSI K7N2G-ILSR: MSI pulls no punches with their flagship nForce 2 motherboard. Featuring almost every conceivable technology available for motherboards, they're doing everything they can to standout on paper. Let's see how it does in reality.
Date: April 16, 2003
Written By:

I don't think it's much of a stretch to go out and say that the nForce 2 is currently the best performing AMD platform available. Unlike the launch of the original nForce, the successor has a lot of industry support, and it should be no problem finding some flavor of nForce 2.

Knowing that, the shopper faces a mini dilemma where they'll have to sort through which nForce 2 will best suit their needs. Questions such as stability, and speed come to mind, but for the most part, all of the boards perform within a few percentage points of one another. No, that won't do. There needs to be a bit more to sway a shopper to consider one brand over another. Good overclocking ability is a natural requirement, as is any extra features would also be nice. Finally, all this has to be packaged in a price they can afford.

MSI is one such company that tries to meet the above criteria with their motherboards. Though MSI may not be number one in any one area, you could always count on them to provide a solid package at a reasonable price, when compared to its competition. The MSI K7N2G-ILSR is one of those packages where if there's any PCB space, it's going to get used by something. This particular board is also the first one we've had a chance to look at with the nForce 2 Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP). We're not going to dig too deep into the nForce 2 itself, but you can get more info from our nForce 2 preview, and our Epox 8RDA+ review for the full scoop.


CPU: Supports Socket A for AMD® Athlon™/Athlon™ XP/Duron™ processors @FSB 100/133/166

Chipset: nVIDIA® nForce2 IGP Chipset
- Integrated TV encoder
- Supports DDR266/333 with internal graphic core, DDR266/333/400 with external add-on card
- AGP 3.0 8x interface at 533MHz

nVIDIA® nForce2 MCP-T Chipset
- AC97 Interface supporting up to two concurrent codecs
- Ultra ATA133 for the fastest hard disk throughput
- USB 2.0 EHCI/1.1 OHCI controller
- FireWire® and USB 2.0 for the fastest digital connectivity
- Audio Processing Unit(APU) encodes audio in Dolby® Digital 5.1 format for full surround sound effects

Main Memory
Supports six memory banks using three 184-pin DDR DIMMs
Supports up to 3GB PC3200/2700/2100/1600 DDR SDRAMs
Supports both 64-bit and 128-bit DDR SDRAM

One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 1.5V 4x/8x slot
Five 32-bit PCI bus slots (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface)
One ACR (Advanced Communication Riser) slot

On-Board IDE
An IDE controller on the MCP2/MCP2-T chipset provides IDE HDD/CDROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes
Can connect up to four IDE devices

Serial ATA Interface
Support 2 serial ATA plus 1 ATA133
- RAID O or 1 are supported
- RAID function works w/ATA133+SATA H/D or 2 SATA H/D
Connect up to 2 Serial ATA devices and 1 ATA133 device

On-Board Peripherals
- 1 floppy port that supports two FDD with 360KB, 720KB,1.44MB and 2.88MB
- 1 serial port and 1 VGA port
- 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
- 3 audio ports in vertical
- 2 IEEE1394 connectors
- 6 USB ports (Rear * 4/ Front * 2)
- 1 RJ-45 jack

As we can see from the specifications, MSI packs every nForce 2 feature into its flagship AMD motherboard. Other than the motherboard features, there are plenty of extras such as the D Bracket 2, the S Bracket, a FireWire (1394) bracket and a TV-out external bracket.

All of this is contained in a very attractive box, with the familiar MSI motorcycle adorning the cover. You also get some DVD software, drivers, and a couple of manuals. Only one IDE cable is included, along with one floppy. Since this is a SATA RAID capable motherboard, it's nice that MSI included at least two SATA cables.

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