iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






MSI 845E Max2-BLR (i845E) Mainboard

Well, the board offers quite interesting capabilities together with the new design of the package which looks better than the former pictures of futuristic equipment.


  • Package: cardboard box laminated with blue shining coating;
  • Documentation: user manual, installation manual for IDE RAID, brief manual for the Bluetooth PC2PC function;
  • Cables: 2 ATA66/100/133 and 1 FDD;
  • Bracket with two USB ports (USB-Bracket);
  • S-Bracket;
  • D-Bracket-2 (2 ports);

    Left to right: MSI USB-Bracket (4 ports); MSI S-Bracket; MSI D-Bracket-2

  • Bluetooth PC2PC set;
  • Diskette with drivers for IDE RAID;
  • CD with software including:
    • drivers;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • VNC;
    • 3Deep;
    • DirectX 8.1;
    • PC-Cillin 2000;
    • X-setup;
    • MSI Fuzzy Logic (processor overclocking with auto control);
    • MSI GoodMem (optimization of the memory operation);
    • MSI InfoView (viewing information on system devices);
    • MSI i-Speeder (optimization of the Internet access and monitoring of network connections);
    • MSI Live Update 2 (auto update of drivers and BIOS);
    • MSI LockBox (to forbid access to the computer);
    • MSI PCAlert III (system monitoring);
    • MSI SecureDoc (file decoding);
    • MSI SmartKey (for operation with SmartKey).

The layout has traditional disadvantages: audio-ins are in front of the PCI slots, IDE RAID connectors are behind them, when a video card is installed it's difficult to handle the memory modules. It's not difficult to reach the only jumper on the board even when the board is already installed. Its function is shown on the textolite.

The 2-channel switching voltage regulator incorporates 9 capacitors of 2200 uF and 4 of 1500 uF.

The following controllers are integrated: an audio one based on the chipset's capabilities and AC'97 codec Avance Logic ALC650 with a 5.1 audio systems support, a SPDIF connector and an output for front audio connectors; a network one based on the chipset's capabilities; IDE RAID controller based on the Promise PDC20276 chip.

The board incorporates the Bluetooth PC2PC technology: an expansion card with one of the Bluetooth modules with an external antenna is inserted into the special connector (which is located next to the PCI slot and which locks the latter), the second adapter is inserted into the USB port of another computer - thus, one can make a wireless connection with the work range of 200 m and a data rate up to 723 Kbit/s. Note that when the Bluetooth module works, one of the USB ports is locked (its connector on the USB-Bracket has a tape glued to it with the corresponding message).

Non-unsoldered connectors: Wake-on-LAN connector, a connector for a modem's audio-in and some others.

The system monitoring is supported by the Winbond W83627HF-AW chip. Processor voltage (+/-3.3, +/-5 and +/-12 V), speed of 3 fans and temperatures of the processor (a built-in sensor) and the board (a built-in sensor) can be controlled. There are 2 connectors for adjustable connection of fans and one for non-adjustable connection.

Brief characteristics of the board: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 6 PCI/ CNR; I/O ports - 1 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0; dimensions - 305x230 mm.

Adjustment can be carried out with:

jumpers and switches Jumper to clear up the CMOS
BIOS based on ver.3.31a from AMI Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, Precharge Delay
Setup of memory frequency + Auto, 200 and 266 MHz
Setup of AGP bus -
Setup of PCI bus -
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses -
Manual assignment of interrupts +
Changeable FSB frequency + 100-233 MHz in 1 MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier + x8-x50
Changeable core voltage + 1.5-1.85V in 0.025V steps
Changeable memory voltage + 2.5, 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8 V
Changeable chipset voltage -
Changeable AGP bus voltage + 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 and 1.8 V

We used the latest available version of the BIOS - 5.0.

This is a very interesting board. Apart from the standard IDE RAID, network controller and 6-channel sound, it has a unique capability of establishing a wireless connection with a cell phone, PDA, notebook, another computer etc. I just hope its price won't be too high.

Test results:

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