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After ASUSTeK Computer and several other mainboard makers announced adoption of core-logic products for Intel processors from VIA Technologies, Micro Star International followed others with its own MSI PT880 Neo platform featuring VIA PT880 chipset.

MSI is the first mainboard company to officially unleash a mainboard on VIA PT880 core-logic, the second chipset from VIA to support Intel Pentium 4 processors with 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus and also the company’s second Quad Pumped Bus product unveiled after the Taipei, Taiwan-based chipset designer settled its IP legal dispute with Santa Clara, California-based Intel Corporation.

Performance of VIA PT880 is expected to be considerably higher compared to the speed of its predecessor – VIA PT800 – because of dual-channel memory controller. According to an X-bit labs research, in memory-intensive benchmarks VIA PT880 mainboard can be about 10% faster than the PT800. Nevertheless, the PT880 is not as fast as Intel’s i875P and i865PE chipsets.

The PT880 Neo mainboard series from MSI is claimed to be a feature-rich and high-performance mainboard at an affordable price-point. It will also sport all MSI’s latest technologies, such as CoreCell chip bringing such capabilities as Speedster, BuzzFree, PowerPro and LifePro.

MSI PT880 mainboard adopts VIA PT880 + VT8237 chipset, supports processors with 400/533/800MHz Quad Pumped Bus, features 4 DIMM slots for up to 4GB of PC2100/PC2700/3200 memory (dual-channel memory bus support: memory modules used should be identical and installed in pairs), an AGP 8x, 5 PCI slots, 2-channel ATA-33/66/100, 2-channel Serial ATA-150 with RAID, 10/100Mb/s Ethernet controller, 6-channel AC'97 sound, USB 2.0, FireWire and so on.

Worth to point out that MSI does not declare QBM memory support by the first ever VIA PT880-powered mainboard officially rolled out. Earlier VIA claimed that its PT880 chipset will support QBM memory.

Pricing of the VIA PT880-based mainboards should be generally lower compared to the cost of Intel’s i865PE-based platforms. We may expect availability of MSI PT880 Neo mainboards in commercial quantities this November.

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