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Tuesday, 08 May 2007 07:08

MSI P35 Neo Combo benchmarked - 4. Layout

Written by Eliot Kucharik
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Preview: MSI P35 Neo Combo, Part one


The power-voltage-regulator is a low-cost 3-phase analog part, we did not expect a 4-phase VRM, due to increased manufacturing costs. Of course this cheap implementation has drawbacks when it comes to overclocking, because higher VCore is required to achieve stable operation. The power-connector is positioned above the IDE connector and that may cause problems when using IDE devices, because the cables will intersect. On the other hand, the 4-pin CPU power connector is well placed on the outer edge next to the CPU socket. Due the use of some very tall conventional capacitors, you may have trouble to install high-end coolers, because some heatpipes might interfere. You should install the CPU power connector before attaching any high-end coolers.
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 The colour scheme of the memory slots is quite useless, two colours would have been much better. The DDR3 slots are on top with the DDR2 slots below.

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 iCH9 supports six SATA II connectors, but only four are fitted. An extra SATA connector is provided by the Marvell 88SE6111 controller, which also includes one IDE UDMA133 port. We hope it works better than the JMicro JMB363 controller.

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Network connectivity is provided by the Realtek RTL8111B PCIe controller, the internal iCH9 MAC is not used. Although this is a budget board, a VIA VT6308P Firewire controller is integrated, but you can use only one port, because the bracket for the second port isn't supplied, but many cases do have internal connectors.

The panel connectors are colour coded and labelled, this is standard on all MSI boards. You'll also find four extra USB 2.0 headers, but you can't use them, because MSI does not provide any USB 2.0 brackets

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Last modified on Tuesday, 08 May 2007 08:32
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