Socket 754 Chipset Shootout @ AcesHardware

@ 2004/05/24
If there is one thing that I will remember from reviewing these two motherboards, it is the fact that cheap components can be a real waste of motherboard real estate and money. The Promise RAID controller and the Realtek 8110S-32 might make most motherboards look better when you do a typical features/price comparison, but in practice these components are useless when you need them, and add cost if you don't. Who needs a RAID-0 controller that is not even able to outperform a single drive all the time, uses more CPU power than a single drive and features snail write speeds from time to time? Who knows what to think of the Realtek Gigabit solutions that hog up to 80% of one the most powerful CPUs currently available?

Ultimately, both boards are excellent performers and the K8N Neo is an incredible overclocking tool. But frankly, MSI should offer two boards: one without these mediocre components for the people who do not need them and who should not pay for them, and one with slightly more expensive but much better RAID and Network chips.

The most disturbing fact is that many motherboards manufacturers - not only MSI - frequently used decent Broadcom/Intel chips in the past and are now more often selecting these sub-par Realtek chips. To be fair to MSI, they have recognized the fact that there are enthusiasts out there who are willing to pay a little more for much better components. For example, while many of the socket 478 boards feature the Realtek/Promise hardware, their newest "875P Neo-FISR" comes with an excellent Gigabit CSA Intel 82547EI chip.

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