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MSI i845E Max2 - BLR

Written By:
Date Posted:
July 8, 2002

Let's face it. For the most part of the last year, Intel Pentium 4 boards haven't been all that exciting. Whereas Athlon boards truly innovated, Intel boards, although quite solid in their own right, haven't been well known for "packing-in-the-features". One reason for the lethargy in development has been Intel's notion that a performance P4 board must revolve around RDRAM. While RDRAM based boards still dominate the majority of P4 benchmarks, it's initial pricing hindered acceptance into the enthusiast market.

A lot has changed half a year ago when Intel finally embraced DDR. Perhaps they felt compelled to make a change when VIA began to unofficially release their P4 DDR chipset, but nevertheless, DDR is the memory of choice for the majority of enthusiasts.

Following the success of the MSI 845 Ultra, the is a DDR based board, supporting Intel's latest P4/533 FSB chips. Unlike your typical "vanilla" boards, the Max2 series come stacked with features. The i845E chipset is here of course, and along with it comes USB 2.0, ATA100, and a 133 FSB, quad pumped. Also present on the board is RAID ATA133 support, 6-channel sound, LAN, and a surprising entry, Bluetooth support. We'll take a look at all of these features, once we dispence with the obligatory "ripped-from-the-website" specifications...


Supports Intel® Pentium® 4 processor in 478 pin package.
Supports 1.5 ~ 2.53GHz and up.

Intel® 845E Chipset
- Support 100MHz/133MHz system clock.
- Intel NetBurst micro-architecture supports 400MHz/533MHz system bus.
- 1.5V AGP interface with 4x data transfer and 4x fast write capability.

Intel® ICH4 Chipset
- 2 channel Ultra ATA 100 bus Master IDE controller.
- Supports USB 2.0 /1.1
- PCI Master 2.2.
- AC'97 2.2 interface.
- 3 UHCI Host controllers and 1 EHCI Host controller.

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

Main Memory
Supports four memory banks using three 184-pin DDR DIMM.
Supports up to 2GB PC2100/PC1600 DDR SDRAMs.
Supports 2.5v DDR SDRAM.

One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 4x slot (1.5V only).
Six PCI 2.2 32-bit Master PCI bus slots (support 3.3V/5V PCI bus interface).
One CNR (Communication Network Riser) slot.

On-Board IDE
An IDE controller on the ICH4 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA66/100 operation modes.
Can connect up to four IDE devices.
ATA133 RAID supported by Promise PDC20276. (845E Max2-BLR only)

Realtek ALC650 6-channel audio
- SPDIF out (through S-Bracket only).

ICH4 Integrated LAN controller (845E Max2-BLR only)
Intel 82562ET
ACPI and APM supported
Wake-On-LAN and WFM 2.0 supported

On-Board Peripherals
1 floppy port supports 2 FDDs with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes.
2 serial ports (COM A + COM B).
1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode.
1 IrDA connector for SIR/ASKIR/HPSIR.
1 D-Bracket" pin header.
1 S-Bracket" pin header.(Optional)
1 audio/game port.

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.

30.5 cm(L) x 23.0 cm(W) ATX Form Factor

6 mounting holes.

Special Functions
Bluetooth Function (For 845E Max2-BLR only)

The Bundle
Fuzzy Logic3"
Live BIOS"
Live Driver"

MSI has really been improving on their packaging over the last few motherboards we've looked at. Sporting a cool blue, the boxes really stand out. Keep in mind that the Bluetooth features are optional.

Click to enlarge

Next Page - The i845E and Bluetooth


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