The Next 'BX': 13 Motherboards For Pentium 4 With Intel's 845 Chipset and Socket mPGA478

MSI MS-6528 / 845 Pro 2

Board Revision: ?

BIOS Version: 1.2

The MXI 845 Pro 2 comes with a full range of features: six PCI slots; AGP 4x with card lock; CNR slot; three DIMM sockets; C-Media PCI sound chip with two line-ins; Promise 20265R IDE RAID controller chip; and a security system called SmartKey.

This is a little Flash memory, about the size of a key. It will store a unique ID number that is randomly generated. There are two security barriers: the first one is the BIOS itself, which boots the system only if the SmartKey is inserted into a USB connector; secondly, MSI bundles special Windows software that makes it possible to render the system in a safe state (while working) as soon as you remove the SmartKey. Anyone who wants additional security for their system should take a closer look at MSI's solution.

As with other MSI motherboards, this one comes with D-LED. This is an on-board debugging system, based on four LEDs. The LEDs will light up, depending on the current system state. For example, if your system hangs with only the 2nd LED lit up, there must be something wrong with the memory.

The 845 Pro 2 ran properly and quickly, so there is nothing left to criticize. The only thing that I missed is on-board LAN.