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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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