Overclocking: Dual- vs. Quad-Core CPUs

Highlights Of The MSI Board - Affordable, Heatpipe On Board

We'll refrain from pointing out every detail of the two boards we have selected, since this isn't a motherboard review. Instead, we'll just showcase the highlight of each to help you decide which one is the right board for you.

Both companies use all-solid capacitors in their products, ensuring a longer life than when using conventional electrolyte capacitors.

MSI P35 Neo2 (MS-7345)

A look at the MSI board

The MSI board from the other side

The highlight of MSI's design is definitely the heatpipe, which draws heat away from the Northbridge, the Southbridge and several of the voltage regulation modules.

Heatpipe on MSI's board

Another look at the heatpipe

A VIA chip provides the Firewire functionality on the FIR model. There are eight LEDs on the lower part of the board, which indicate the current status using a code. In case of a boot failure, a freeze or other problems, you can simply look up the code in the manual to diagnose the problem.

The CMOS reset button

Firewire-Chip by VIA

A red button that can be used to reset the BIOS if the board won't start is located right next to the CMOS battery. This is an incredibly overclocker-friendly feature - not only do you no longer have to fiddle around with jumpers, your last settings are also retained, making overclocking experiments much easier.

MSI uses Realtek's ALC888 as its on-board sound chip.


Although the board only features physical PCIe lanes for one 16x and one 4x connector, you can still create a crossfire configuration using two ATI cards. The processors auxiliary power connector uses eight pins, but you can use a four-pin connector as well.

MSI's wiring help.

MSI includes a few helpful wire-organizer brackets for the USB, Firewire and Power/Reset pins with its board, making wiring from the tower to the motherboard a piece of cake.

MSI P35 Neo2-FIR BIOS - click to launch slide show

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