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Generation Change: Eight Motherboards For The Athlon 64

MSI K8T Neo, Continued

Core Cell needs a small controller to monitor system activity. This chip replaces the usual clock generator and, if required, can overclock the system by up to 10%.

MSI, too, has color coded connections on the pin panel. The Promise controller is a good compromise from the point of view of downward compatibility and usefulness in the future because, besides the two SATA ports (colored orange in the picture), it also has a port for UltraATA/133.

The K8T Neo's Achilles heal is the mediocre voltage regulators. MSI uses cheaper two phase switching controllers that become very hot at full load hence the cooling elements.

MSI has been generous with the back panel: besides for numerous connections for the sound system, it also has four USB and two FireWire ports.