One Tough Cookie: 10 Boards with Intel i875P Chipset: Part I

MSI I875P Neo (MS-6758): BIOS Tuning From The Fab

The packaging of the MSI i875P Neo (MS-6758).

A look at the MSI i875P Neo with extensive layout.

No expense spared: accessories included with MSI.

There is no end to the accessories - and it all fits in the small package.

The extras in the MSI box just can't be beat: once opened, you'll scarcely be able to stuff all the components back into what turns out to be a very compact little package. The manufacturer generously includes four Serial-ATA cables and matching power adaptors. No other candidate in this test even came close to that; this one extra saves you more than 30 euros. In addition, there are three slots for Firewire (mini und normal) and sound (optical and analog).

We were surprised to see that there are six USB 2.0 ports on the back plane - no need for additional interfaces here. CSA Gigabit LAN and ICH5 RAID are also built-in. In addition, there is a Promise RAID controller for each of the two Serial-ATA and IDE ports. Costs are kept down by VIA's Firewire chip (VT6306), which nevertheless provides all functions. MSI does without an AGP-Pro slot, which seems questionable given current developments anyway.

The manufacturer is the only one in the test field to fit the SMD-voltage regulator (three phases) with heat sinks. We discovered that the board, as it ships from the fab, boots at excessively high clock speeds: the AGP is at 72 MHz, putting the PCI at 36 MHz. This gives the impression that MSI aims to achieve better performance during tests. As always, THG tests at the specified clock rates, so that BIOS pre-settings are not an issue.

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