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Thread: MSI P4N Diamond nForce4 SLI I.E Mainboard

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    MSI P4N Diamond nForce4 SLI I.E Mainboard

    In summary, then, MSI's taken on NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset and incorporated a sensible array of features that make the P4N Diamond into a true deluxe mainboard. General performance is good and SLI performance, too, is about as good as it's going to get with LGA775 as platform base. It's recommended as a fast LGA775 board with all the trimmings, but it can't be recommended as the SLI board of choice - no Intel board can. SLI and overall gaming performance belongs to AMD.
    http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews...lld19JRD0xMjAx

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    Very nice test! Looks like a very good board.

    I'm not finished reading yet, just wanted to tell you.. you have used the wrong picture on page 11. The second 05 pic is the same as the first

    Edit: Hehe.. I can see why you mixed the pictures, the new one looked just like the first

    I've read the whole thing now, and I partly agree with your conclusion. However there is some little thing I want to mention. Sure the amd64's are known to be fast in games, but these 2 MB L2 660's got a 'secret' card up their sleeve. People on the xs.org forum has reported (link) these cpu's to often be overclockable and stable at around 4,5 GHz with watercooling! If this is correct, and as the amd64's usually top out at 2,8 GHz on water, I would really liked to see these benchmarks done with the 660 on 4,5 and the FX on 2,8! If these clocks are very achievable by the end user, these numbers will be very relevant. I suspect Intel is not very long behind any longer. With this becoming a good clocking board, as John Inwood commented the board will be, I think this and other good clocking s775 boards will become very popular.

    Or am I totally lost here, guys? Great article by the way!
    Last edited by Marlowe; 22-05-2005 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Adding lots of text :)

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    I'll get on this now, thanks.

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    Last edited by Steve; 22-05-2005 at 07:46 PM.
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    Ok... I have this board (and have had it from Newegg since 05/19/05).

    The bios that ships on the board, ver 1.00, is utter crap. I did not allow me to change voltages on the DDR2 or the CPU (only on the Northbridge). No big deal, my cpu nor memory really need voltage, they cook at defaults.

    However, a much bigger deal, the advertised functionality (which was replicated in the MSI cherry picked board supplied to hardwarezone for their review) of being able to independently set DDR2 and FSB(QDR) speeds

    *DOES NOT WORK*

    on the production board. MSI support gave me a beta bios , ver 1.10. It did open up the voltage adjustments that the 1.00 did not allow.. but I still have ZERO control over DDR2 speed. There are three clock modes: manual, linked, and auto. Auto is supposed to be just that.. auto speeds.

    Linked is supposed to maintain the ratio between FSB and DDR2 (like every other overclocking mobo in existence).

    Manual is advertised to allow you to change the memory speeds independently of FSB. Obviously, this is a HUGE breakthrough in overclock technology and is the reason I ultimately bought this board. No more matching your memory to your cpu multiplier so you end up with close to max on both for top end overclock on a production run AND maximum memory bandwidth.... just get the best of each you can find and set them independently. THIS IS HUGE!

    But, it doesn't work.

    Manual works just like linked, for me. The only way I can change the value of the DDR2 speed is to change the FSB/QDR speed and watch my DDR2 speed change in a locked 800:533 ratio (3:2). Perhaps worse, the bios does not detect the SPD settings on my PDP PC2-5600+XBLK dual channel kit correctly. It defaults to the PC2-3200 speeds (which are 3-2-2-2-8-1). If I don't manually change them to the PC2-5300 speeds (4-3-3-3-12-1), then I can't overclock at all.

    Can someone from Hexus (preferably the review author) confirm that the board and bios they have IN HAND will allow for independent setting of FSB/QDR and DDR2 clock speeds in the bios? If so, can you boot it and check with Sandra or CPUid jsut to make sure it's taking effect? That would be great.

    Can you confirm the BIOS you're using is 1.00 and the date of the BIOS? It would also be great if you could save a copy of that bios file and send it to me so I can try it on my board. I'm really starting to think MSI sent you guys a cherry picked board, too, despite the drama at hardwarezone over their cherry picked board (either that or I happen to have a bum board).

    MSI did supply me the 1.10 beta bios (not official), which has improved things.. but Newegg will not take this motherboard back for a refund.. which is pretty shady that I have a motherboard that appears to be different than the one the review sites are getting and now I seem to be out $250 for something that does not do what MSI advertises it to do on their MFG website.
    Last edited by TechnoButt; 26-05-2005 at 06:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marlowe
    I've read the whole thing now, and I partly agree with your conclusion. However there is some little thing I want to mention. Sure the amd64's are known to be fast in games, but these 2 MB L2 660's got a 'secret' card up their sleeve. People on the xs.org forum has reported
    I'd like to see this challenge, too. I'm currently running this:

    MSI P4N Diamond Motherboard (currently bios 1.10 from MSI)
    (Asus P5GDC Deluxe also available)
    PDP 1G5600+XBLK (512x2) DDR2 Memory (693mhz@4-3-3-3-12-1@1.9V)
    Intel 530J (3.0ghz@3.92ghz)
    Zalman CNPS7700-Cu
    BBA x700 Pro
    Promise FasTrack sx4000lite w/256mb PC133 Cache
    4xWD800JB in 240GB RAID5
    NEC ND-3520A
    Antec SuperLanboy Case
    PC Power & Cooling 450ATX PSU (w/24pin adapter)
    Samsung 193P 19" LCD Silver
    Microsoft Natural 2.0 Keyboard
    Logitech MX510 Mouse
    Logitech 2.1 Speakers
    Windows XP Pro SP2

    I'm soon going to pick up a pair of 6800GT's and overclock them like mad to see if I can put some AMD fanboys out to pasture. I may end up swapping my 530J for a 630 if I can't get enough OC out of the 530J (it currently appears to be limited to about 4ghz.. I'm thinking the extra 400mhz + 2mb cache could be huge).

    Although.. the people using Pentium-M's with Asus 479-478 adapters on the older chipset 478 boards are coming up with some impressive numbers, too. That may ultimately take the crown for a few moments whenever the next iteration of single cards comes out from ATI.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoButt
    Ok... I have this board (and have had it from Newegg since 05/19/05).

    The bios that ships on the board, ver 1.00, is utter crap. I did not allow me to change voltages on the DDR2 or the CPU (only on the Northbridge). No big deal, my cpu nor memory really need voltage, they cook at defaults.

    However, a much bigger deal, the advertised functionality (which was replicated in the MSI cherry picked board supplied to hardwarezone for their review) of being able to independently set DDR2 and FSB(QDR) speeds

    *DOES NOT WORK*

    on the production board. MSI support gave me a beta bios , ver 1.10. It did open up the voltage adjustments that the 1.00 did not allow.. but I still have ZERO control over DDR2 speed. There are three clock modes: manual, linked, and auto. Auto is supposed to be just that.. auto speeds.

    Linked is supposed to maintain the ratio between FSB and DDR2 (like every other overclocking mobo in existence).

    Manual is advertised to allow you to change the memory speeds independently of FSB. Obviously, this is a HUGE breakthrough in overclock technology and is the reason I ultimately bought this board. No more matching your memory to your cpu multiplier so you end up with close to max on both for top end overclock on a production run AND maximum memory bandwidth.... just get the best of each you can find and set them independently. THIS IS HUGE!

    But, it doesn't work.

    Manual works just like linked, for me. The only way I can change the value of the DDR2 speed is to change the FSB/QDR speed and watch my DDR2 speed change in a locked 800:533 ratio (3:2). Perhaps worse, the bios does not detect the SPD settings on my PDP PC2-5600+XBLK dual channel kit correctly. It defaults to the PC2-3200 speeds (which are 3-2-2-2-8-1). If I don't manually change them to the PC2-5300 speeds (4-3-3-3-12-1), then I can't overclock at all.

    Can someone from Hexus (preferably the review author) confirm that the board and bios they have IN HAND will allow for independent setting of FSB/QDR and DDR2 clock speeds in the bios? If so, can you boot it and check with Sandra or CPUid jsut to make sure it's taking effect? That would be great.

    Can you confirm the BIOS you're using is 1.00 and the date of the BIOS? It would also be great if you could save a copy of that bios file and send it to me so I can try it on my board. I'm really starting to think MSI sent you guys a cherry picked board, too, despite the drama at hardwarezone over their cherry picked board (either that or I happen to have a bum board).

    MSI did supply me the 1.10 beta bios (not official), which has improved things.. but Newegg will not take this motherboard back for a refund.. which is pretty shady that I have a motherboard that appears to be different than the one the review sites are getting and now I seem to be out $250 for something that does not do what MSI advertises it to do on their MFG website.
    Hi,

    I'd love to help you here but the sample was taken away the day after the review was finished. MSI U.K. seems to be in short supply of them right now.

    I'll email the tech. guys at MSI and try to get answers for your questions.

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoButt
    I'd like to see this challenge, too. I'm currently running this:

    MSI P4N Diamond Motherboard (currently bios 1.10 from MSI)
    (Asus P5GDC Deluxe also available)
    PDP 1G5600+XBLK (512x2) DDR2 Memory (693mhz@4-3-3-3-12-1@1.9V)
    Intel 530J (3.0ghz@3.92ghz)
    Zalman CNPS7700-Cu
    BBA x700 Pro
    Promise FasTrack sx4000lite w/256mb PC133 Cache
    4xWD800JB in 240GB RAID5
    NEC ND-3520A
    Antec SuperLanboy Case
    PC Power & Cooling 450ATX PSU (w/24pin adapter)
    Samsung 193P 19" LCD Silver
    Microsoft Natural 2.0 Keyboard
    Logitech MX510 Mouse
    Logitech 2.1 Speakers
    Windows XP Pro SP2

    I'm soon going to pick up a pair of 6800GT's and overclock them like mad to see if I can put some AMD fanboys out to pasture. I may end up swapping my 530J for a 630 if I can't get enough OC out of the 530J (it currently appears to be limited to about 4ghz.. I'm thinking the extra 400mhz + 2mb cache could be huge).

    Although.. the people using Pentium-M's with Asus 479-478 adapters on the older chipset 478 boards are coming up with some impressive numbers, too. That may ultimately take the crown for a few moments whenever the next iteration of single cards comes out from ATI.
    Not a bad overclock, TechnoButt. Although we do have an Athlon 64 3000+ (around £100 here) that hits 2.7GHz at default volts and 2.8GHz with just a touch extra juice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarinder
    Hi,

    I'd love to help you here but the sample was taken away the day after the review was finished. MSI U.K. seems to be in short supply of them right now.

    I'll email the tech. guys at MSI and try to get answers for your questions.
    Thanks! Let me know if MSI even responds... they've left me (and apparently hardwarezone.com out to dry).

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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by TechnoButt
    Manual works just like linked, for me. The only way I can change the value of the DDR2 speed is to change the FSB/QDR speed and watch my DDR2 speed change in a locked 800:533 ratio (3:2). Perhaps worse, the bios does not detect the SPD settings on my PDP PC2-5600+XBLK dual channel kit correctly. It defaults to the PC2-3200 speeds (which are 3-2-2-2-8-1). If I don't manually change them to the PC2-5300 speeds (4-3-3-3-12-1), then I can't overclock at all.
    Ok, I am not super technical myself, but from what you are saying I dont think I have experienced the same problem. Am i right in saying you want to change the memory speed without messing with the FSB. i.e. get maximum bandwidth from your memory, without overclocking your CPU to ludicrous amounts.

    Take a look at this pick. its something I did before we sent the board out for my memory testing. I jacked the memory speed to 437.5Mhz (DDR 875) and locked the CPU FSB to 300Mhz.

    This worked no problem (i have image but as a total forum n00b i am not sure how to post it). If this is what your trying to achive let me know. I did not do anything special, just simply set to manual timings. I am sure we can work it out.

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    I thought I'd come back and follow up here. I'm going to give up my SLI setup and try out a dothan/ati agp setup (my stuff is up for grabs on AT).

    I ended up with 4 bios versions: 1.00, 1.10, 1.26, and 3.00. Of the 4, the one that worked the best for me was 1.10. Using that bios and disabling all the spread spectrum options (there are no less than 3! on this board, and sometimes a 4th one is available) allowed me to make all the changes. The FSB/DDR2 settings are not completely independent, but there are many more options than any other motherboard I've tried.

    +/- did not work to adjust the values, I had to key them in with numeric keypad/numlock. Doing so I was able to achieve this:

    D530J w/Zalman CNPS7700Cu overclocked from 3.0ghz to 3.92ghz very stable (not quite prime95/superpi stable, but enough for games and 3dmark05) at default voltage. 38C idle/56C load.

    PDP PC2-5600+XBLK overclocked stably for me to 733mhz@5-4-4-12-12-1 (still haven't figured out that 4th number yet, but I set it to 12 to be safe) at default voltage.

    Bumping the northbridge voltage up a notch or two seemed to improve top end stability.. but not confident of that. It seems to be a true competition between stability and heat.

    With this setup and 2xBFG 6600GT OC cards in SLI, I was able to get just shy of 6300 3dmark05. I didn't try overclocking the vidoe cards (I don't think that's a wise thing to do, since the advent of geforce2gts, video cards have proven to burn themselves alive at stock, much less overclocked). I'm guessing if you wanted to risk OC on the cards, you could get to about 6600/6700 3dmark05 depending on overclock.

    Nice rig.. but I want something quiet and low power now. That means dothan+ddr1+agp in my near future.

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