MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum A64 S939 Review

Motherboards/AMD S939 by JNav89GT @ 2004-09-28

Is the latest MSI motherboard for Socket 939 capable of delivering blistering fast performance when combined with your expensive CPU? We take a closer look at the Neo2 Platinum edition, and see how much performance increase we get from upping the HTT speed.

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Test Setup & Installation

Jnav89GT's Test Setup
CPU AMD Athlon FX53 S939
Mainboard MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum
Memory 2 x OCZ 512Mb PC3700 Gold Rev3 (CAS 2.5 3-3-8 for all tests)
Video PNY Geforce 6800GT (Core:410/Memory:1105)

  • Onboard soundcard was disabled during performance tests
  • Windows XP SP1 with DX9c

    Installation & Setup

    Installation and setup of this board was really a snap. No overt issues were noted with case clearance when mounting. One issue that I suspect will get some notoriety is the AGP retaining clip, as it's mounted very close to the Southbridge fan. See red circle in picture below.

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)

    This will end up interfering with removing newer AGP cards like ATI X800 and nVidia 6800 series cards. The proximity of the Southbridge heatsink to the AGP retention clip combined with the length and heatsinks of newer AGP cards in effect block the users’ ability to depress the clip. The solution is to "attack" the back of the clip as shown in yellow in picture above with a very small flat head screw drivers, being very careful not to slip off and scratch PCB of motherboard, while depressing clip. No easy feat, but with time and patience can be done safely.

    Windows XP w/SP1 was installed and did so without issue. One variation over other boards is setup of RAID arrays which may trip up some users. Granted, reading of manual directions is clear on this subject. To be honest though I would say 90% of users only reference manual for case lead hookup and leave the rest to intuition. RAID arrays must be defined in several areas.

    First in bios, you must enable which channels of motherboard you wish to have dedicated to RAID storage. Whether it is IDE channels, SATA or combinations thereof. Second, as in most RAID setups, there is a separate raid bios after main bios posts, that once entered allows user to define drives and chose type of array. Once those two steps are complete Windows is ready to be installed. Using Windows 2000/XP there is a screen that comes up after CD start to read asking user to hit F6 if any additional drivers will be needed. These drivers are read from 1.44 floppy driver disk included with the mainboard and should be in floppy drive at this time. After windows loads some baseline drivers for installation/setup a screen will appear that shows drivers available on disk. This screen may trip up some users who don't read manual, as in general most mainboards require the RAID array drivers only. However, with this MSI board you need both drivers listed. This is accomplished by selecting the RAID drivers 1st, when setup again prompts if any additional drivers are needed, hit "s" and then select the other driver that was listed off the floppy. Your OS setup should now see both drives.

    I must quickly describe one area that I'm sure will throw a monkey wrench into a few peoples overclocking experiences. While the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum does indeed offer AGP and PCI locks, SATA ports 1+2 will not maintain a lock and you can and will corrupt hard drives placed on these channels if you raise the HTT above 220mhz. SATA ports 3+4 (the 2 near the AGP slot and CPU socket, see below) are indeed kept in lock and testing with a 200GB WD SATA drive on port 3 functioned fine during limited testing. I know of other people who have this board and as long as SATA ports 3+4 are used, no drive/data corruption have been reported.

    Madshrimps (c)

    After OS is installed, I choose to install mainboard (nForce) system drivers, Network , AGP video card, Sound card and DX9C drivers, in this order.

    Time for some performance tests ->
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