MSI K7N2 Delta2 Platinum Athlon XP nForce2 Review

Motherboards/AMD S462 by jmke @ 2004-09-26

With the latest nVidia chipset for the Athlon XP we get onboard Gigabit, RAID and SATA; we take a closer look at MSI?s implementation of this feature rich chip and see what it has to offer.

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Intro & Specs


Today we look at a high end Athlon XP motherboard from MSI. Based on nVidia’s latest nForce2 chipset it promises excellent performance. While speed wise nothing much was improved, the feature set of the nForce2 Ultra 400 Gb is what it is really all about.

Madshrimps (c)

Gigabit LAN, Serial ATA and RAID are the main feature additions to this new chipset, allowing the Athlon XP platform to be on par with the latest A64 and P4 motherboards. MSI’s implementation carries the name “Platinum”, it is their top of the line motherboard series which is feature rich, comes with a black PCB and offers a 3-year warranty!

The System Platform Processor (SPP) includes the AGP-8X interface and the dual-channel memory controller, which is still capable of high performance

The actual innovation lies in the Southbridge, the Gigabit MCP (Media & Communications Processor). This component includes the new Gigabit Ethernet controller as well as both SATA ports.

Madshrimps (c)
SPP = System Platform Processor, contains the AGP 8X interface
and also serves as the system’s memory controller.

Madshrimps (c)
The new version of the MCP (Media & Communications Processor) chip
contains SATA / Gigabit and AC97 audio interfaces


• Supports Socket A for AMD® Athlon™/Athlon™ XP/Duron™/Sempron™ processors @FSB 266/333/400 MHz
• Supports up to 3200+ processor or higher

• nVIDIA® nForce2 Ultra 400 Chipset
- Supports DDR200/266/333/400
- AGP 8X and PCI Advanced high performance memory controller

• nVIDIA® nForce2 Gigabit MCP Chipset
- Integrated Ethernet MAC
- Integrated Hardware Sound Blaster/Direct Sound AC97 audio
- Ultra DMA 66/100/133 master mode PCI EIDE controller
- Supports USB 2.0
- Integrated SATA Interface

Main Memory
• Supports six memory banks using three 184-pin DDR DIMMs
• Support Dual channel PC3200/2700/2100/1600 DDR SDRAMs
• Supports both 64-bit and 128-bit DDR SDRAM
• Maximum memory size of 3GB
• Supports 2.5v DDR SDRAM DIMM

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

• 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.

On-Board IDE
• Two IDE controller on the nVIDIA® nForce2 Gigabit MCP 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
• Integrated SATA Phy, supporting up to 2 ports
• One SATA controller, supporting two drives in master mode

NV RAID (Software)
• Supports 2 serial ATA plus 4 ATA 133 Drives
- RAID 0, 1, 0+1, JBOD is supported
- Booting from RAID
- Cross controller RAID support
- Rebuilding on the Fly
- Spare Disk Allocation
• Supports Windows 2000 and later versions

In-Chip IEEE1394
• Supports up to 3* 1394 ports (via external bracket). Transfer rate is up to 400Mbps.

• On-Board 10/100/1000 Enternet
- A 802.3 NVIDIA MAC for 1000 BASE-T/100 BASE-T/10 Gigabit/Fast Ethernet/Ethernet
- RGMII for Gigabit/Fast Ethernet/Ethernet

• Chip integrated (5.1 channel H/W audio)
- Direct Sound AC97 audio
- 6 channel analog output
- Digital SPDIF out signal compatible W/S-Bracket

USB Interface
• 8 USB ports
- Controlled by Gigabit MCP southbridge
- 4 ports in the rear I/O, 4 ports via external bracket

On-Board Peripherals
- 1 floppy port that supports two FDD with 360KB, 720KB,1.44MB and 2.88MB
- 1 serial port
- 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
- 1 Audio jack (5-in-1), coaxial/fiber SPDIF out
- 3 IEEE1394 connectors (via external bracket)
- 8 USB ports (Rear x 4 / Front x 4)
- 1 D-Bracket2 pinheader
- 1 RJ-45 jack

30.4 cm(L) x 24 cm(W) ATX Form Factor

Let's take a look at what is the BOX and the motherboard components' layout ->
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