Having tested ABIT's SR7-8X and Shuttle's AS45GTR (both based on the SiS 648 chipset), we were eager to see how the MSI 648 Max-F would stack up. MSI is one of the first motherboard makers with a SiS 648-based motherboard that can be considered "tier-one". Other tier-one motherboard makers like ASUS and Gigabyte will soon have their 648 boards ready to go, and we'll have individual reviews of them when that time comes.

MSI's naming scheme for their SiS 648 series of motherboards is quite simple. The "F" at the end of "Max" indicates the addition of Gigabit technology. The MSI 648 Max-L, on the other hand, is the exact same motherboard as the "F" version we're reviewing today minus Gigabit (but it still comes with LAN). The MSI 648 Max is exactly the same as the "L" version minus LAN.

Anyway, knowing that the SiS 648 unofficially supports DDR400 memory, we were naturally eager to see if the MSI 648 Max-F could operate reliably and perform well with DDR400. However, MSI says that the 648 Max-F isn't meant to be run with DDR400 memory and that for top-notch reliability, DDR333 memory is the way to go. As you will see shortly, this is both true and false.

With the SiS 648 chipset finally starting to go mainstream, we take an in-depth look at MSI's 648 Max and see what it offers that no other motherboard can…

MSI 648 Max: Basic Features

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