|Basic features and layout
By: Sverre Sjøthun, June 19, 2003 Print this article
Motherboard Basic Features
|CPU Interface||Socket -478|
|Chipset||Intel 82875P MCH (North Bridge)Intel 82801ER ICH5R (South Bridge)|
|Bus Speeds||Up to 500MHz (in 1MHz increments)|
|Core Voltages Supported||Up to 1.95V (in 0.05V increments after 1.60V, in 0.0125V increments before 1.60V)|
|I/O Voltages Supported||N/A|
|DRAM Voltages Supported||Supported up to 3.30V (in 0.05V increments excluding 3.00V-3.10V)|
|Memory Slots||4 184-pin DDR DIMM Slots|
|Expansion Slots||1 AGP 8X Slot5 PCI Slots|
|Onboard USB||Eight USB 2.0 ports supported through South BridgeVT6306 IEEE-1394 FireWire Controller (up to 3 ports total) |
|Onboard LAN||Intel PRO/100 VE|
|Onboard Audio||Analog Devices AD1985 Controller|
|Onboards Serial ATA||Two SATA connectors via Promise PDC20378 Controller Two SATA connectors via ICH5R|
The MSI NEO-LSR Canterwood motherboard
When looking at the motherboard, it strikes us how nice and tidy everything is. There is plenty space around the processor socket, the ATX powerconnector is placed almost on top to the right on the motherboard so that it doesn’t block airflow or clutter up your cabling like we saw on the Abit KG7 series where they had placed it right next to the processor socket.
Another detail is the space between the DIMM slots and the AGP slot – plenty of room, making installation as easy as it can get. On other motherboards we have encountered, like the Asus A7V333, the real-estate is so cramped you actually have to remove the AGP card before adding or removing RAM modules.
Just above and to the left of the Northbridge is the ATX12V connector. This location allows for shorter power trace routes on the motherboard for cleaner power, which is obviously desirable to obtain a stable system, but it can be problematic with regard to airflow to the heatsink for your processor. In addition, it doesn’t really “fit in” visually, as you probably have to route the cabling right across your motherboard above the AGP card. In an ideal world this connector would be placed on the top-right edge of the motherboard, but still near enough to the processor socket to allow shortest possible power trace route. Unfortunately this connector has to be near other components as well and we are left many motherboards placing this connector in an unfortunate position.
One thing that caught our eyes right away was the heatsinks on the power MOSFETs, which tends to get pretty hot, especially when overclocking. Not only do they look nice but also I think they will further increase overall system stability. For those of you that read our Prometeia review, you’ll remember that we ran into some serious problems with the Asus P4G8X when overclocking that were related to the power circuitry.
The DIMM slots are arranged in two sets of two slots each, with each set belonging to separate memory channel. These slots are color coded, but are somewhat confusing, as we at first honestly believed that populating a single color slot group would enable dual channel mode. One quick look in the manual stated otherwise, so keep that in mind should you decide to buy one of these boards.
Furthermore, the Northbridge chipset has an actively cooled heatsink with a stylish lasercut fanguard on it -- plenty of cooling-power and the heatsink stayed nice and cool during all our testing. Interestingly enough MSI decided to add red, green and blue flashing LEDs to the heatsink. For those of you that like a little bling-bling in your case, or are really into disco, this is a nice feature. Personally, I'm glad my LianLi case isn't window-modded, as I have found no way to turn them off.
The ICH5R Southbridge chipset is located below PCI slots 1 and 2 with the ICH5R controlled SATA ports right below. The NEO-LSR has 5 PCI and 1 AGP slot, and between PCI slot 5 and the edge of the board, you’ll find the D-Bracket 2 header, RCA and S/PDIF bracket connector as well as audio panel header.
On the back of the motherboard, you’ll find the usual set of ports including PS/2 keyboard and mouse, one parallel port, two serial ports, the Ethernet port, 6 USB 2.0 ports as well as 3 audio ports.
To sum it up, the design and layout of this board leaves very little room for improvement and our only real complaint is the location of the ATX 12V connector. Also the color coding of the DIMM slots may cause some confusion.
Basic features and layout
BIOS and overclocking
Testbench and benchmarks