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MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R (MS-6728 v.1) i865PE Based Mainboard

July 15, 2003



This board crowns the i865PE chipset family and has the most number of various components. This PCB serves a base for several boards: 865PE Neo2-S (which comes only with the chipset Serial ATA controller), 865PE Neo2-LS (10/100 Mbit Ethernet added to functionality of the previous model), and finally our hero 865PE Neo2-FIS2R (Fast Ethernet controller replaced with CSA Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire & IDE/SATA RAID added). One of the interesting features of this board is Dynamic Overclocking technology which raises CPU clock at heavy loads according to the BIOS settings. For example, in the Colonel mode the 3GHz processor reached 3210 MHz, and the General mode (max.) added 300 MHz to the original frequency (but in this mode its operation wasn't stable). 




The layout is not that bad, but it's not easy to make an ideal one with such a rich suite of functions: thus, the CD-Audio connector is in front of the PCI slots while IDE and SATA RAID are behind them. Moreover, it's not convenient to connect ports located along the left edge. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 12 capacitors of 1500 uF and several less capacious ones. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (4 1000 uF) and of the memory (4 of 1000 uF). 

The board measures 305x245 mm ("wide ATX", 9 screws fastens it). 

Connectors which are left space for: only one USB connector (this version has 6 ports mounted on the rear panel), - the board is the most advanced version in this series. System monitoring is supported by the Winbond W83627HF-AW (which also functions as LPC Super I/O). It controls: 

  • processor voltages, +3.3, +-5 and +-12 V, VBAT and +5 V Standby
  • rotation speed of 2 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor).



The board incorporates a special chip that realizes the CoreCell technology. This is actually an overclocking function, only a fine one. For example, it allows changing power supply voltage in 0.0125V steps. It's also possible that the intellectual overclocking utilities such as MSI Fuzzy Logic control parameters exactly via this chip. 

Another noteworthy feature in the MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R is the PAT support which officially comes only on the i875P chipset. And in this case the technology is simply named MAT (Memory Acceleration Technology), though everyone is well aware that ASUS's Hyper Path, Albatron's Performance Enhancement Mode or MSI's MAT stand for the same technology - Intel's PAT in the i865 series. 

Ports & connectors onboard

  • Socket 478 with preinstalled CPU cooler holder;
  • 4 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (grouped in pairs, differ in color);
  • AGP slot (not Pro, with a retention clip);
  • 5 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz);
  • Power supply connectors: standard ATX and 4pin for 12V;
  • FDD;
  • 3 IDE (Parallel ATA): 2 on chipset, plus 1 at the expense of an integrated IDE/SATA controller;
  • 4 Serial ATA: 2 on chipset, plus 2 at the expense of an additional controller;
  • 3 connectors for FireWire ports;
  • Connector for MSI D-Bracket;
  • Connector for a bracket with audio-outs;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive;
  • Case open detection header;
  • 3 connectors for fans (2 with rotation control, 1 without it, - it's connected to the north bridge cooler).

Rear panel (left to right, in units)




  • PS/2 ports for keyboard & mouse;
  • 4 USB (2.0);
  • COM (1) & LPT ports;
  • 2 USB (2.0) & 1 RJ-45 (Ethernet);
  • 3 audio connectors (Line In/Out & Microphone).

Accessories




  • Package: a standard cardboard box with a handle;
  • Documentation: user manual, manual for SATA/IDE RAID (in English);
  • Cables: 4 SATA (with two power supply splitters), 1 ATA66/100/133 (round, in red cambric) and 1 FDD (round, screened);
  • MSI D-Bracket (bracket with two USB (2.0) ports and 4 POST LEDs);
  • Bracket with S/PDIF-Out (TosLink & Coaxial);
  • Bracket with 3 FireWire ports;
  • I/O Shield;
  • Diskette with drivers for SATA/IDE RAID;
  • 2 CDs with software:
    • drivers;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • Adobe Photoshop Album SE;
    • FarStone Virtual Drive;
    • FarStone RestoreIT!;
    • InterVideo WinDVD;
    • InterVideo WinRip;
    • MediaRing Dialer;
    • MSI DVD (media player);
    • MSI Fuzzy Logic (automatic CPU overclocking);
    • MSI GoodMem (memory optimization);
    • MSI InfoView (information on system devices);
    • MSI i-Speeder (optimization of the Internet access and network connection monitoring);
    • MSI Live Update 2 (automatic update of drivers and BIOS);
    • MSI LockBox (PC access lock);
    • MSI Password Keeper;
    • MSI PCAlert IV (system monitoring);
    • MSI SecureDoc (file encryption).

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the C-Media CMI 9739A AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio-outs and S/PDIF connector provided;
  • network controller based on the Intel 82547EI (Kenai II CSA) chip, 10/100/1000 Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet) supported;
  • SATA/IDE RAID on the Promise PDC20378, supports RAID 0 & 1 on ATA133 & SATA150 protocols;
  • FireWire on the VIA VT6306 chip.

Settings

jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
BIOS based on AMI v3.31a  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, Active to Precharge Delay
Setup of memory frequency + Auto, 266, 320, 400, 500, 532 MHz (at FSB 800 MHz)
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + AGP(PCIx2) = 66-151 MHz in 1MHz steps
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 100-500 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x8-x32 (of no use for processors with the locked multiplier)
CPU voltage control + 1.1-2.3 V in 0.0125 V steps up to 1.6 V and then in 0.1V steps 
DIMM voltage control + 2.5-3.3 V in 0.05V steps
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control + 1.55-2.1V in 0.05-0.1V steps

We used the BIOS 1.3 as the latest available version. 

Summary

The MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R demonstrates very high performance, and its functions can satisfy all you needs. The board must be of interest mostly for advanced users and overclockers because such variety of integrated controllers and performance-boosting functions hardly suit home or office PCs. 

Test results: 


 

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)
 

Vladimir Rybnikov (puree@ixbt.com


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