Six Dual Xeon Motherboards on the Cheap

MSI E7505 Master-LS2 (MS-9121), Continued

The Broadcom network controller makes it to 1 Gbit/s

The LS2 board is equipped with a Broadcom LAN controller. The BCM5703CKHB chip enables data transfer at 1 gigabit per second and is connected to P64H2 bridge by a 100 MHz PCI64 bus.

The LS2 has room for four registered modules

The large WTX boards from MSI only support registered memory modules with a maximum size of 2 GB. This results in a limit on memory expansion of 8 GB. The ECC protocol is also supported.

The "big" MSI board also lets you change memory timings

Ultra 320 SCSI controller from LSI Logic

Up to 15 SCSI drives can be connected to the LSI53C1030 SCSI Ultra 320 controller from LSI Logic, with a max interface speed of 320 MB/s. You can fix how the SCSI controller cannot handle any RAID modes directly by adding an extra card. The MegaRAID SCSI 320-0 from the same manufacturer can only be run from the green PCI-X slot and extends the card's capabilities with RAID 0, 1 and 5 functionality, which also reduces the load on the CPU. Other features are a cache of 64 MB and the ability to boot the system from a RAID array.

Not much sound: cheapo AD1885 chip with AC97 codec

The MSI Master-LS2 comes with the AD1885 sound chip from Analog Devices. It has only one stereo output.

BIOS monitoring gone wild

The BIOS is capable of monitoring up to seven fans. The two USB 2.0 ports are not exactly abundant for a workstation board. If you like going to a lot of bother, you can add two more via an optional slot shield on the board. To top it all, it has connections for a total of four casing fans. The MSI E7505 Master-LS2 (MS-9121) is available in retail outlets for $470.

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