MSI K8N Neo Platinum: First nForce3-250Gb

by Wesley Fink on 4/26/2004 12:05 AM EST


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  • Starstream - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    Well, I currently have an MSI board and, frankly, I would have to really have my arm twisted before I bought another. Zillions of issues with their support and documentation. I don't know...this is impressive. The "cross mount" memory slots are an interesting twist. Reply
  • ksherman - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    this is probably a dump question, but here goes:
    since the 3200 OCs to the level of the 3800, does that mean i am essentially (if i can reach those speeds of course) getting a 3800 in term of performance? the 3800 are clocked at 2.4GHz, and the only real difference in the processors is the clock speed correct? so a $600+ card for around $200+ seemd like a good deal to me...
  • Klaasman - Saturday, May 08, 2004 - link

    When are these due to be available in the USA for purchase?? Reply
  • l3ored - Saturday, May 01, 2004 - link

    i'd really like to know weather the 300fsb outperformed the max oc, then i can make memory purchase decisions, perhaps a follow up review is in order? Reply
  • MadAd - Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - link

    Raid Questions: a) I run a fasttrack tx2000 with 4 IDE drives and am wondering would I be able to use the 2 IDE channels for raid 0+1 and get a SATA to IDE converter to run an optical drive or two?

    b) The last raid review at AT was Jun 2001. With new provison for raid in nf250 plus older high end boards offering variations of highpoint and promise on board plus sata raid vs ide becoming a factor, wouldnt this be a good time for another one?
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Same as ATi X800Pro. Well, well don't we have a lot of 8's on the 6th. Too bad I got an exam on that very same day. Hope I get an 8 as well :) Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    #19 -

    Several nF3-250 boards are expected at Anandtech in the next couple of weeks. They are starting to show up from many manufacturers.

    Also, VIA's update to the K8T800 Pro will launch on May 6.
  • hifisoftware - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Very, very nice review.

    OC bench would not hurt, but otherwise OC is very well covered.

    I belive RAID was covered in the chipset review.

    One thing that I would've really liked is to know when other mobos are coming out. It would seem that even without overclocking this chipset should not be slower then previous. So maybe another motherboard is gogin to be a bit faster.

  • mikeymasta - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Also how 'real' is the hardware raid on the nforce3?
    I mean can I setup a simple 2 hd based mirror raid have install FreeBSD 5.2.1 and expect it to see only 1 drive like 'true' hardware based raid or is this just software based crap that boil down to just extra IDE ports that only do so called 'raid' by software drivers?

    Personally if I was in charge of making standards I would make rule #1 of the standard of raid being that you cant put the word 'raid' on your software product unless its true hardware based raid!
    Bit like the true standard of PC133 ram where it couldn't be classed as 'PC133' memory unless it had a clearly printed label on it with letters 'PC133' for a start, (I remember anand pointing that out a long time ago)
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Yep, we want OC benchies! Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - link

    Ahhhhhh! A long spiel about how great the board is at overclocking....and then no overlocked benchmarks!! I want to see how much gain you get! How about a single game and encoding benchmark? Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    I agree with #10, Wesley, you should include at least one synthetic with your overclocking tests because you have'nt done any good overclocking/high FSB tests on a64s as you havent had a mobo with good PCI/AGP lock or >250 FSB til now. It makes me wonder why because you are thorough with the p4/i875 and by your own admission the gigabyte and shuttle nF3-150 have PCI/AGP locks and ClockGen adjusts the FSB. The location of the a64 memory controller ondie means the memory sync/async tests results from intel systems cant be translated to the a64 ones. So, in my opinion, for conservative a64 overclockers, benchmark results at the same cpu speed but different FSB (clockspeed) sync or async and HT alteration would be of good use. I know you are just seeing the limits etc. but you must be running stability tests so it costs you nothing in time to throw in the sandra or Memtest86 bandwidths or even 3DMark2001/2003 results.

    And I agree there is merit in running cool and quiet with overclocked systems(if possible) as the windows software overclockers are still not perfect and only available on some brands.
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link


    It may not really fit in with a motherboard review, but seeing as how it seems overclocks on the nF3 150 and KT800 chipsets have been limited by the motherboard, it makes sense to test the overclocked performance to see if it's worth paying for a motherboard with lower performance at stock speeds that might provide a lot better performance once overclocked. For example, if the nF3 250 can only match KT800 performance after overclocking, it makes the choice much more clear.
  • cnq - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link


    Thanks for the quick response. Glad to hear you are considering mixing manual overclocking with cool'n'quiet in future tests.

    You mention that "I am not convinced that it matters to most overclockers". I think that's just because c'n'q' is fairly new. If you tell them that c'n'q is just the thing to help prolong the life of their overworked system, they'll start paying attention. Only those who run 100% cpu utilization 24/7/365 won't care.

    For the rest of us, mixing Cool'n'Quiet with overclocking makes perfect sense (throttle back the cpu when just web browsing; crank it up to overclocked when you need a burst of bower, which in my case is compiling. Note that I'm not counting MSI's CoreCell auto-overclocking because it's not powerful enough...)

    I'd also claim that Cool'n'Quiet is *doubly* useful in a heavily overclocked system. Such systems are often on the ragged edge of overheating, and thus could benefit more than anyone from throttling at times of light or moderate load.

    Naturally, when the load jumps back up, we'd want the fully overclocked manual settings to automatically kick back in. And that's the rub. Will that part work?

    Has anyone tried running Cool'n'Quiet on a manually overclocked A64? Does it (a) work perfectly, (b) crash, (c) not crash but "forgets" your overclock settings, (d) other? I'm guessing it will crash, esp. if manual overclock settings included changing the CPU voltage or raising the HTT while lowering the CPU multiplier. Hoping to hear I'm wrong (for at least one A64 board) before making purchase...
  • Schnieds - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    Do you have any idea when this motherboard will be available for purchase in retail outlets? From the review it sounds like this board is a release version and ready for retail, but no one seems to know when it will actually be available for purchase... Thanks for the great review. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    #7 - nForce3 chipsets automatically control Bank Interleave and Command Rate - there are no manual options. Some VIA chipsets do allow interleave and command rate settings. We always specify the setting we used in the review - if those settings are available. If they are not an available option we state NA for Not Available in our Memory Stress Testing tables. We also always enable interleave if it is an option.

    #8 - I added Cool'n'Quiet to the Feature list at your suggestion. Most overclockers turn off auto features for overclocking, because frankly I can always out-tweak Auto settings on OC. I will consider doing more with Cool'n'Quiet in overclocking, but I am not convinced it matters much to most overclockers.

    #9 - Corrected. Not to be defensive, but if you want to see how much AnandTech found with this board that other sites missed, read through K8N Neo reviews that others have posted.

    #10 - What would it take to make you happy on OC results in board reviews? I have explored 1:1 vs aynch in memory reviews. Performance results at a full-range of OC and timings are always a part of memory reviews. What would you like to see in motherboard reviews?
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    No overclocked comparisons? Awwww man... questions still unanswered... Reply
  • KillaKilla - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    How well did the Albatron GeForce FX5950U work with those ATI Catalyst 4.4 drivers?

    Not to be sarcastic, but simply alerting those who can correct this to the typo.
  • cnq - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link


    You mentioned that you disabled Cool'n'Quiet to prevent possible interference with overclocking.

    I wonder if it's even worse than "interference": is it even *possible* to run Cool'n'Quiet on a heavily overclocked system? (especially one with aggressive overclocking: significantly raised HTT with lowered CPU multiplier).

    This is one of those things that should be a FAQ, yet no one seems to have tried. Cool'n'Quiet is the perfect complement to an aggressively overclocked system: prolonging its lifespan by giving it a "breather" when just (e.g.) web browsing. But are Cool'n'Quiet and overclocking compatible?

    (Pls refer to my same question in your Aopen AK89 Max review for specific technical reasons why I think c'n'q and aggressive overclocking may not be compatible. I hope I'm wrong.)
  • Myrandex - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    My K8T Neo supports cool and quiet completely, and toms hardware confirms this too with an older A64 mobo roundup. Looks like a hell of a board, but I am wondering why so many reviews at Atech are run w/ Bank interleave set to disabled. I remember back in the K6/2 days, this was a major bios tweak for memory. Does it not matter, or negatively effect performance now?
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    #1 - This is the same CPU that has not been able to run 3 dimms in the past. Stepping is AP. I was also surprised 3 dimms worked at DDR400.

    #3 - MSI states that the K8N Neo Platinum fully supports Cool'n'Quiet. We did enable it and it does appear to be working. We ended up disabling Cool'n'Quiet for our overclocking tests to prevent any possible interference from this feature.

    #4 - We will be changing standard test memory in the near future. Since so many tests have been done with the Mushkin/OCZ 3500, we continue using them so results can be compared to previous performance tests. We have also not yet determined which memory we will test with in the future.
  • NFS4 - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    #3, my Asrock K8S8X fully supports Quiet-n-Cool on my A64 3200+ It idles at 800MHz, then switches from 1800MHz and then to 2000MHz depending on load. But I'd say that 90% of the time doing normal desktop work, it's at 800MHz. The only time I see it spike up is when I start a game or when I do something really CPU intensive.

    But remember, in order to get it to work, you have to have it enabled in BIOS and download the CPU driver from AMD's website and set your power management in Windows to "Minimal Power Management"
  • Fr0zeN2 - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    Why do you keep testing with memory modules that aren't available on the market anymore? Reply
  • mikeymasta - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    Theres been a lot of talk that no motherboard maker/chipset maker fully supports AMDs cool and quiet...
    Does any one know what the status of support is on this board chipset?
  • skiboysteve - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    i dont like this video card specific tweaking at all... Reply
  • mechBgon - Monday, April 26, 2004 - link

    Very interesting that this setup can run three double-sided DIMMs at DDR400 speeds. What stepping is the test system's CPU, if I may ask? Is it the same CPU that was not succeeding at running three DDR400 DIMMs stable on other boards/chipsets? Reply

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