Pricey Foundations: 9 Boards For The Pentium 4

MSI MS-6523: Performance Leader, Via Overclocking

Board revision: 1.0

BIOS: W6523MS V2.3 (02 August 2001)
It ships with a connector for a game controller.

What's striking about the MSI is the unusual way its RIMM slots are configured. Whereas three of them have been built vertically, the fourth has been installed at a 90 degree angle to the others. This unusual design is a by-product of the inexpensive construction, which only uses four and not the usual six layers. Weak points: MSI has only furnished the board with four PCI slots! What's more, the front side bus is heavily overclocked, with the board running at 2030 MHz - definitely too fast! However, BIOS incorrectly lists the speed as 2000 MHz, so that the user doesn't get worried. Since this board comes factory-overclocked at 2030 MHz, it takes the gold in terms of performance.

A view of the MSI 850 Pro 2 connectors.

Splayed RDRAM slots.

On the positive side, however, the USB cable shipped with the board allows you to connect two PCs directly without needing a network card. A particularly useful feature is the Dr. LEDs, which allows you to diagnose errors using color codes. Conclusion: For about $120, the customer receives a fast board with a vast array of features, although it has been heavily overclocked at the factory. Despite being overclocked, this board is still unlikely to cause system instability!

Cable to connect two PCs directly.
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