by June 3, 2005 0 comments

Following the latest trend, MSI has also come up with boards which support multiple graphics cards. This diamond series board from MSI is based on the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition. 

Some of the features include 7.1 channel audio, dual channel DDR2 support (400/533/ 667), FireWire
support, six SATA ports, IRDA, a total of ten USB 2.0 ports and SLI support. The
memory size can go up to a maximum of 16 GB. That’s not all. The board is also Smithfield ready, Intel’s latest dual core CPU, which recently hit the market. 

The board also has SATA2 RAID. Other features include PCI Express-based gigabit LAN, and a 1 GHz FSB speed. The board supports MSI’s liveupdate3 tchnology, which provides a graphical user interface to update the firmware, as well as DOT (Dynamic Overclocking Technology), which lets you adjust the CPU clock ratio. 

Another of MSI’s technologies that have been incorporated is Corecell, which is in the form of a chip that does a lot, ranging from decreasing overall system noise to power saving. The motherboard includes a utility for monitoring CPU speed,
voltages, temperatures and fans’ speeds.

The P4N Diamond also comes with an optional dual 802.11g WLAN cum Bluetooth card, along with a utility called Digicell to facilitate the controlling of this card. You can even use your PC as a
wireless access point with the use of Digicell and this card.

For SLI support, the board has two PCI Express x16 slots (called the primary and secondary slots). 

When in the normal mode, the primary PCI-E slot is compatible with PCI Express x16 and the secondary PCI-E slot is also compatible with PCI-E x1 (in addition to the x16). On the other hand, in SLI mode, both cards are equivalent to the PCI-Expres x8 slots.

We tested the board on a P4 3.6 GHz CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series GPU (256 MB video memory), 1GB of RAM and Win XP SP2. The board performed very well in MCCW (Multimedia Content Creation Winstone benchmark), beating the MSI RS-480 by a
significant margin.

Business Winstone was the only benchmark in which the board performed worse than the RS-480.This is strange considering the fact that the RS-480 motherboard is less than half the price of the P4N Diamond.

At Rs 19,000 the board might seem too expensive but the features that it has and the performance justify the hefty price.

Model Quake
III Arena
  FPS 3DMarks Winstone
RS-350 (onboard graphics)
78.4 643 21.3 26.7
RS-350 (external graphics)
181.7 4586 21 26.7
415 * 43.8 51.5
P4N Diamond
454.4 11546 36.4 63.1
925 XE Neo
338 12553 35.8 56.4

Bottom Line: At a little under twenty thousand rupees, this gamer’s dream motherboard might seem to be
expensive but the feature set and the performance justify the price. 

Ankit Kawatra

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