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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In the box & Mobo layout

In the box

Madshrimps (c)

Inside the box, you will find the motherboard (of course) and the following goodies:
  • Rounded IDE & Floppy cable
  • 2x SATA cables
  • Y-Splitter converting one conventional 12v connector into 2x SATA power connections
  • Custom back plate
  • D-Bracket 2 with 4x USB 2.0 ports & Status LEDs
  • D-Bracket with 3x Firewire ports
  • Drivers & Applications CD
  • SATA Raid driver floppy disk
  • An installation manual

    The rounded cables are of high quality, as are the extra brackets. The custom back plate is necessary, as you will soon find out:

    The Delta2 Platinum motherboard

    Madshrimps (c)
    (click for zoom 1600x1328 / ~450kb)

    The layout is clean, almost all connectors are placed at the side of the board, removing cable cluttering and leaving the CPU socket area clear.

  • 4 fan connectors are present, one used by the north bridge’s fan.
  • Area around the CPU socket is kept quite clear, however the north bridge heatsink is close enough to obstruct larger heatsinks.
  • no mounting holes around the CPU socket, MSI is convinced that the only way to apply enough pressure on the CPU’s core is by using the mounting slugs. Most water blocks and about 50% of all enthusiast heatsinks use four mounting holes for installation; these are a no-go with this motherboard.
  • The RAM slots do no obstruct larger video cards, RAM can be removed without issue.
  • "Overclocking strips" are present near the northbridge and CPU socket, they can also be found on the back. They improve heat removal and therefor should allow for higher overclocking and more stability (thanks HardFreak)
  • The Orange PCI slot is designed specially for Wireless cards, but can be used as a normal PCI slot.
  • Temp sensor inside the Socket is flat, it offer some resistance, applying some Arctic Silver between the sensor and the bottom of the CPU will increase accuracy of the obtained temperatures.

    Madshrimps (c)

  • North bridge heatsink a small fan which is quite noisy when running at full speed, the heatsink is made of aluminum, thermal paste is present!

    Madshrimps (c)

    Madshrimps (c)

  • MSI’s CoreCell offers some additions functionalities to the motherboard:

    * Speedster(Maximum overclocking),
    * PowerPro (powersaving)
    * LifePro (constant temp control, smart FAN )
    * BuzzFree (noise management)

    Allowing the user to control voltages, FSB and fan speed through an application in Windows!

    Madshrimps (c)

  • The custom back plate is needed because the platinum version of the Delta2 board features a whole series of extra audio connectors:

    Madshrimps (c)

    Madshrimps (c)

    After installation of the basic components (CPU/Memory/Video card) the system booted without issue, let’s see what the BIOS has to offer ->
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