iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R (VIA K8T800) Mainboard

MSI has only one VIA K8T800 based model so far, a top version of the future family. Probably, other, cheaper (less functional and poorer equipped) boards will appear when the Athlon 64 gets cheaper. This product does match the niche it's positioned for and sells at a relatively low price.

The layout looks traditional: it might be difficult to hook up cables to the connectors near the left edge, the SATA/IDE RAID are behind the PCI slots, while the CD-In is in front of them; also, the cables and connectors around the memory modules may lock access to them. It's not difficult to reach the only jumper when the board is already installed. Its description is provided on the PCB.
The 2-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 8 capacitors of 1500 uF and 4 of 820 uF (MSI is the only company that installs heatsinks on hot unipolar MOS transistors in the circuit of this regulator). There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (1 capacitors of 1000 uF) and of the memory (2 of 1000 uF). As expected, this top model has no components which would be provided space for but not installed. The board measures 305x245 mm (wide ATX, 9 fastening screws, all edges fixed). System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83697HF chip. It controls: 

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

Ports & connectors onboard

    • CPU socket (Socket 754); 
    • 3 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (2 GB at most, it's recommended to use DIMM1 and DIMM2, 3 DDR400 modules are supported but only from the recommended list);
    • AGP slot (with a rentention clip);
    • 5 PCI slots; 
    • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, 4pin for 12V); 
    • FDD; 
    • 3 IDE (Parallel ATA) - 2 on chipset,1at the expense of the additional controller; 
    • 4 SATA (Serial ATA) - 2 on chipset, 2 at the expense of the additional controller; 
    • 2 Connectors for brackets of 2 USB 2.0 ports; 
    • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive; 
    • Case Open sensor;
    • Connector for IrDA devices;
    • POST controller connector (D-Bracket2);
    • Connectors for a bracket with additional audio-outs;
    • 4 connectors for fans (2 with rotation control).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard;
  • 1 LPT, 1 COM, 6-pin (standard) and 4-pin (mini-FireWire) FireWire;
  • 2 USB (2.0) and S/PDIF-Out (Coaxial);
  • 2 USB (2.0) & 1 RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet);
  • 5 audio ports (Mic-In, Line-In, Front, Rear, Center/Sub) and S/PDIF-Out (TosLink).

On the back are connectors of all interfaces integrated, - this is the most advanced combination which also includes dated LPT and COM interfaces. 


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: user manual, installation guide for IDE/SATA RAID (in English);
  • Cables: 2 Serial ATA (with power supply adapters), ATA66/100/133 and FDD (both wide cables screened);
  • D-Bracket2 (2 USB (2.0) ports and 4 boot diagnostics LEDs);
  • I/O Shield;
  • Diskette with drivers for IDE/SATA RAID;
  • CD with:
    • drivers;
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader;
    • VNC;
    • 3Deep;
    • DirectX 9.0a;
    • PC-cillin 2002;
    • X-setup;
    • MSI CoreCenter;
    • MSI DMI Browser;
    • MSI FuzzyLogic;
    • MSI GoodMem;
    • MSI InfoView;
    • MSI i-Speeder;
    • MSI LiveUpdate;
    • MSI LockBox;
    • MSI PCAlert;
    • MSI PWKeeper;
    • MSI SecureDoc;
    • MSI SmartKey;
    • MSI WMIinfo.

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the Avance Logic ALC655 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio I/Os and S/PDIF connector provided; 
  • network controller based on the Realtek RTL8110S-32, 10/100/1000 Mbit/s (Gigabit Ethernet);
  • FireWire on VIA VT6307 chip, 2 ports supported;
  • IDE/SATA RAID on Promise PDC20378 chip, RAID 0, 1 and 0+1, 2 SATA and 1 PATA.

The integrated audio quality was estimated at 16 bits, 44 kHz with the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.1 and Terratec DMX 6fire audio card:

Frequency response (40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.11, -1.09 Average
Noise level, dB (A): -84.4 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A): 83.7 Good
THD, %: 0.042 Good
Intermodulation distortions, %: 0.064 Good
Channel crosstalk, dB: -79.2 Very good

General performance: Good (in detail). 


  • Core Center (controls system parameters, allows for manual overclocking from Windows, enables/disables Cool'n'Quiet etc., realizes functions integrated in the MSI CoreCell chip);
  • D.O.T. (automatically increases the FSB/CPU clock speed at the heavy loads on CPU and slows down  it in the idle mode);
  • D-Bracket (POST controller reports about problems with 4 LEDs on D-Bracket2);
  • LiveUpdate (automatic update of drivers/BIOS via the Internet).


jumpers and switches CMOS clear jumper  
BIOS based on AMI 3.31a Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, Bank Interleaving, Burst Length, TRCD, TRAS, TRP
Setup of memory frequency + 100, 133, 150, 166, 200 MHz
HT bus adjustment + LDT Bus Frequency, Downstream LDT Bus Width, Upstream LDT Bus Width
Setup of AGP bus -  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup -  
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 190-280 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio -  
CPU voltage control + Auto, +3,3%, +5%, +6,6%, +8%, +10%, +11%, +15%
DIMM voltage control + Auto, 2.55-2.85 V in 0.05V steps
NB voltage control -  
AGP voltage control + Auto, 1.55-1.85V in 0.05V steps

We used the BIOS 1.0 as the latest available version. 


According to the preliminary tests this model can be considered the best, though its scores hardly differ from those of other VIA K8T800 based boards (less than 2%).

Benchmark ASUS K8V Deluxe Albatron K8X800 Pro II MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R
Memory read speed (CacheBurst32), MB/s 2874 2927 2909
7-Zip archiving, min:sec 6:59 6:53 6:54
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Normal@1024x768x32), fps 215 217 219

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)

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