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Faster and Faster, nForce2: The Latest Boards Put to the Test

Shuttle MN31N

Board Revision: 1.1

BIOS Version: S007 (March 28, 2003)

The MN31N is the second MicroATX board to feature the nForce2 chipset we tested. With the exception of such extravagant features as a serial ATA controller, this compact board does in fact offer everything the heart desires.

By way of illustration, Shuttle has incorporated two FireWire ports, which allow external peripheral devices to be connected. But it's a shame that the necessary adapter with the corresponding jacks is not included. Users should insist on the MN31N version (with the N at the end), since only this version uses the network controller of the nForce2 chipset. Also surprising is that for this MicroATX board, Shuttle uses none other than the top version of the Southbridge, namely the MCP-T. This permits Dolby Digital Sound and the FireWire ports mentioned earlier.

The highlights of this board however, are the two D-SUB connections. These allow two monitors to be connected directly, meaning that the dual screen capabilities of the GeForce4-MX-Engine claimed by nView can be used without additional hardware.

Although the layout could be criticized, this does not seem reasonable in view of the impressive functionality and the compact design.