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Generation Change: Eight Motherboards For The Athlon 64

MSI K8T Neo

Resistance is pointless: the K8 logo resembles a Borg cube from Star Trek. In fact, it's the K8T Neo, and the most clever board in the test.

Board Revision: 1.0

BIOS Version: 1.1 Beta 4

MSI was able to come away with outstanding results in most benchmarks. Especially when gaming performance is needed, the K8T Neo is at the head of the field. In other disciplines, it is consistently among the top runners or the best.

MSI has really done its homework here, unlike other manufacturers, because Cool & Quiet is not only supported, it runs hand in hand with its very own Core Cell technology. This makes it possible to dynamically overclock the system at the current load using Core Cell at the specified increment (1, 3, 5, 7, 10%). At the same time, Cool & Quiet makes sure that the clock speeds and the supply voltage are lowered at a certain degree of idleness. As things stand, there's no more efficient way of running a system.

While its features do not match those of Asus' and Gigabyte's, it's still up to the mark: a Promise PDC20378 offers two additional SATA ports and a connection for UltraATA/133 devices. This means the K8T has a total of four SATA ports, as the VIA Southbridge also has two.

A VIA controller supplies two FireWire ports, the Realtek 8110S is used as a network controller and offers support for Gigabit Ethernet.

Gigabit Ethernet and FireWire are more or less standard with premium mobos.