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P43 Neo3-F Software, BIOS, and Accessories

Roundup: Six Core 2 Motherboards Under $100
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The P43 Neo3-F installation CD doesn’t include a cache of valuable third-party applications, but it does have a few nice MSI utilities.

In order to support stable changes is the FSB clock, MSIDualCoreCenter can also alter processor-core, memory, and chipset voltage levels. Changes made here were also reflected in CPU-Z readings.

A smaller command console can be used to select pre-set overclocking and power-saving controls. We found that while Cool mode dropped our FSB clock from 333 MHz to 310 MHz, our system’s idle power requirement increased by a single watt.

The P43 Neo3-F also includes MSI Live Update 3, which is a program capable of automatically searching for and loading driver and BIOS updates.

BIOS

The frequency and voltage ranges of MSI’s P43 Neo3-F BIOS are as broad as most mid-priced enthusiast motherboards.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)

FSB Frequency

Stock to 800 MHz (1 MHz)

Clock Multiplier Adjustment

Yes

DRAM Ratios

1.0, 1.2, 1.25, 1.33, 1.5, 1.60, 1.67, 2.0

PCIe Clock

Not Adjustable

CPU Vcore

0.830 to 2.0175 V (0.0125 V)

CPU FSB Voltage

1.20 to 2.47 V (0.01 V)

Northbridge (MCH)

0.740 to 2.624 V (0.012 V)

Southbridge (ICH)

1.50 to 1.80 V (0.1 V)

DRAM Voltage

1.416 to 3.324 V (0.012 V)

CASLatencyRange

tCAS: 3-6; tRCD: 3-10; tRP: 3-10; tRAS: 9-30


The P43 Neo3-F even supports the full range of memory speeds, but more impressive are the small CPU and DRAM voltage adjustment increments, which could allow tuners to find the best compromise between speed and temperature.

MSI Cell Menu contains the frequency, clock ratio, voltage, and CPU controls with which intermediate-level overclockers are familiar. One peculiar quirk was that enabling Intel C-State technology made our Core 2 Duo E8600 system unbootable, even when everything else was set to default.

The Advanced DRAM sub-menu contains both basic and advanced timings and the most advanced settings can be set per-channel. Entering the Memory-Z sub-menu allows the viewing of EPP values as well, but these must be entered manually.

MSI offers two user profiles where custom settings can be stored and later retrieved, even after using the CLR_CMOS jumper.

Accessories

Accessories

Documentation&Software

Motherboard Manual

Quick Installation Guide

HDD Backup User’s Guide

2x Motherboard Driver CD

MSI HDD Backup Utility CD

Hardware

2x SATA Data Cable

1x 4-Pin to SATA Power Adapter

1x 80-conductor Ultra-ATA cable

1x I/O Panel Shield


Extra CDs and the manual bolster the MSI installation kit without adding any real substance. For example, MSI includes separate Windows XP and Windows Vista driver disks, rather than placing everything on a DVD. MSI’s Hard Drive Backup utility is a nice add-in, but is not any more valuable than the freeware utilities so often recommended in our user forums.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    V3NOM , December 24, 2008 9:10 AM
    interesting, although pretty much anyone building a P775 system these days would spend a bit more than $100... and somethings really weird with this commenting thing cos i can't read what i'm typing... it just ... doesnt fill the box? just when i type something it instantly goes to the left instead of filling the box... but anyway, interesting if a bit useless article.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , December 24, 2008 9:42 AM
    FWIW, the issue with text disappearing from the commenting box as you're typing is something I've reported and m waiting for a fix still. Thanks for confirming that it's still an issue.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 11:16 AM
    Yes - everyone has money shooting out of their pantless ass to buy more expensive motherboards. I use a gigabyte Ep35 DS3L and am very happy with it. What is a >$100 board going to give me? Is it just that you want to waste money? I'm guessing you are one of those people who carry a balance on your credit card and lease a Lexus - you debt-carrying phag.
  • 5 Hide
    jsc , December 24, 2008 11:38 AM
    "What is a >$100 board going to give me?

    I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
  • 4 Hide
    gaiden2k7 , December 24, 2008 1:06 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $99 during black friday... would that top this list? :) 
  • -8 Hide
    Noya , December 24, 2008 1:27 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $84.50 during Black Friday, pwned you ninja gaiden fag.
  • -8 Hide
    malveaux , December 24, 2008 1:28 PM
    Wait, no AMD stuff?

    :( 
  • 6 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 1:46 PM
    lol @ rjcorrin's 1st comment.

    In reply: Maybe he already had HDDs laying around of smaller size and thought it best to save money by spending a few more dollars on more SATA ports than hundreds on new 3 x 1TB HDDs. You're reasoning is asinine and self contradicting.
  • 2 Hide
    Tindytim , December 24, 2008 1:47 PM
    rjcorrinDid you happen to notice that the comment box detects your errors and underlines them in red?

    Did you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.

    rjcorrin"I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports."The DS3L has 4 Sata ports which could easily handle 3 terabytes and a DVD drive. You could have saved money by editing down your porn collection and deleting your stolen .iso's of the entire "Friday the 13th" collection.

    And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.

    Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.
  • 1 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 2:11 PM
    Ummm, maybe I missed it but I didn't see anywhere that said what video/graphics card was used in these test. Anyone!?! I'm curious because of the power consumption numbers. Thanks.
  • 3 Hide
    cambion , December 24, 2008 2:14 PM
    Attention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.
  • -1 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:20 PM
    cambionAttention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.


    This is the exact number of ports on the DS3P. So, again, what does a >$100 board going to give me?
  • -3 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:24 PM
    Though this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu
  • 1 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:26 PM
    tmcThough this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu

    Ugh, got cut off..
    Wait to build your system until Q1, Q2 processor price cuts of 2009.. especially if you have your heart set on $ inTEL $ 775 vs amd.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    TindytimDid you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.


    /Sarcasm
    Maybe I should load up a few more OSes, Opera, IE (6 & 7) and Chrome to fully analyze the capabilities of this text box. I should probably hook up a raid array (mode 0+1 anyone?) to maximize my system performance and maintain the integrity of my porn collection prior to starting my full analysis of this text box.
    /sarcasm
    Do you get any real work done on that computer of yours? Seems like you're spending all your time loading operating systems, plugging in drives, reformatting, and flipping between your extensive collection of linux derivatives. Get a life dude!! You are a hacker-poser!

    And...
    Merry Christmas to EVERYONE!! (even the Jews)
  • 6 Hide
    orangedrink , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    Merry Christmas
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