MSI K8T Neo (VIA K8T800)
MSI company can be really proud of their marketing department. I believe that you will not find a single user who hasn’t heard about the wonderful CoreCell chip and dynamic overclocking technology from MSI. However, the i865PE based mainboard from MSI was a real success. Now let’s see if the new solution for Socket754 will be able to be as successful, especially since it also features all the latest MSI technologies including dynamic overclocking.
MSI mainboard is very similar to ASUS K8V except WiFi support. I believe that the mainboard manufacturers should pay more attention to WiFi networks, which have been developing very actively lately. I think that it would a good idea to equip all boards with integrated controllers for wireless networks. However, let’s not veer away from MSI K8T Neo now.
The mainboard features five PCI slots, an AGP 8x slot and three DIMM slots. Due to the VIA VT8237 South Bridge the board supports two ATA/133 channels, two SerialATA-150 channels where you can create RAID 0 and RAUD 1 arrays, and eight USB 2.0 ports. Four USB 2.0 ports are laid out to the rear mainboard panel and the other four ports are implemented via the PCB connectors. MSI supplies a rear case bracket with an additional pair of USB 2.0 ports together with the mainboard that is why there will be only two USB 2.0 ports left unconnected in the end. However, since most contemporary PC cases are equipped with two USB ports on the front panel, it doesn’t make much sense for MSI to provide the second case bracket.
The sound on MSI K8T Neo is implemented via the Realtek AC97 ALC655 codec – an up-to-date 6-chanel solution supporting AC97 2.3 specification and Jack Sensing technology. Note that MSI did implement all features of this codec on its board, that is why the mainboard rear panel is equipped with five jacks, and optical and coaxial SPDIF Output port. Both of them (one of them is standard and the other one is a mini port) are already laid out on the mainboard rear panel. Note that this panel is actually a way overloaded with all sorts of connectors that is why MSI engineers had to give up the second COM port. And they had to remove it completely. There is even no connector in the board, which is supposed to be used for the second COM. However, we have to admit that serial ports are little by little dying out now.