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MSI K7N420 Pro (MS-6373)

Written By:
Date Posted: January 18, 2002

I have very fond memories of my first retail motherboard. Up until my BX-6119, all my computers were OEM PCs. I forgot why exactly I went nuts putting together this killer rig (at the time), but after a lot of research, I went with MSI. What a gem it was. Rock solid, and it survived 3 CPU upgrades until I decided it was time to retire it. In it's place was the MSI BX Master 6163. It was also a fantastic board, but somehow it didn't impress me as much as the 6119. That was the last MSI motherboard for awhile, as I went Asus and Abit for later upgrades. Although several manufacturers were producing motherboards with nVidia's latest, MSI was the first to market nVidia's superchip. MSI have been first before, but so far their track record has been spotty with their VIA initial launches. Will the K7N420 Pro follow the same fate?

+ =

nVidia shouldn't need any introduction. Without a doubt, the biggest and most popular video GPU developer and manufacturer, they were sitting on top of the world well before the nForce announcement. Why get into motherboards? I'd guess market diversity and eventual domination. Who knows. As long as the products don't suck, do whatever you want. I'll get more into the nForce later on in the review.

Special Features
Live BIOS" (* K7N420 Pro can support only up to BIOS Ver 2.10 )
Live Driver"
D-Bracket" (Optional)

Special Options
Chipset integrated10/100 Base-T Ethernet/Fast Ethernet (Optional)
Audio CNR 6 channel card (Optional)
TV-out daughter card (Optional)

Supports Socket A (Socket 462) for AMD® Athlon" / Athlon" XP / Duron" processors up to 1800+MHz

nVIDIA® nForce 420D Chipset
- IGP-128 (Integrated Graphics Processor)
- Support 200/266MHz FSB
- Twinbank Memory Architecture/128-bit DDR memory controller
- Integrated GeForceMX-class advanced Graphics Processing Unit
- AGP 4x support
- Hyper Transport interface to MCP (800MB/sec max.)

nVIDIA® MCP-D Chipset
- Dual ATA/100 controller
- Support USB UHCI 1.0a, provide up to six USB ports
- IEEE 802.3 compatible MAC (MII)
- Integrated Audio Processor Unit, AC'97 2.1 compliant
- SPDIF output function -- Dolby Digital Interactive Content Encoder FSB 100/133(200/266)MHz clocks are supported.

Main Memory
Support up to three DDR DIMMs
-- Maximum memory size up to 1.5GB
-- Support 128-bit system memory Slots

- Support AGP 2.0 2x/4x (1.5V only), One CNR slot, Five PCI slots
- 32-bit Master PCI 2.2 compliant
- Support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface

On-Board IDE
-- An IDE controller on the MCP chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 100 operation modes
-- Support up to four IDE devices connection

APU (audio processing unit) integrated in MCP
-- Support up to 256 hardware-processed voices or 64 hardware voice in 3D; support multi-speaker 3D audio.

6 speaker Surround sound can be achieved by 2 means:
1. Digital thru a SPDIF speaker (e.g. Creative DTT3500)
2. Analog thru a CNR sound card (motherboard 2channel + CNR 4channel)

CNR card is not included. It is optional *Yay!*

-- 256-bit 2D/3D graphics accelerator
-- Supports the 2nd generation T&L engine, nVIDIA Shading Rasterizer
-- Supports TV-out daughter card (optional)

On-Board Peripherals
On-Board Peripherals include:
-- One floppy port that supports two FDD with 360KB, 720KB, 1.44MB and 2.88MB
-- Two serial ports COM A+COM 2 (pin header)
-- One parallel port that supports SPP/EPP/ECP modes
-- One VGA connector
-- Six USB ports (2 x rear connectors and 2 x USB front pin header to support four ports)
-- One IrDA connector
-- One Audio/Game port
-- One D-Bracket pin header

-- The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS that can detect the periph-eral devices and expansion cards installed on the board automatically
-- Support Desktop Management Interface (DMI) function that can record
your mainboard specifications

30.5 cm(L) x 22.5 cm(W) ATX Form Factor

6 mounting holes.

Whew! Now that we've dispensed with the obligatory specifications, let's look into the stuff that really matters...



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