MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R - Page 6

..:: MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R System BIOS ::..

The MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R comes along with your typical AMI BIOS featuring the menus that we are all too familiar with. When you enter the BIOS, you’ll come across all of those usual options such as Standard CMOS Features, Advanced BIOS Features, Advanced Chipset Features, Integrated Peripherals, Power Management Setup, PnP/PCI Configurations, PC Health Status, Frequency / Voltage Control and all of the Default Settings, etc. We’ll be primarily interested today in the Integrated Peripherals, PC Health Status, Advanced Chipset Features, and of course we can’t forget the most important menu, Frequency / Voltage Control. There are some rather interesting selections available within this menu, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

..:: Advanced Chipset Features ::..

The Advanced Chipset Features menu is home to the main memory timing settings, along with a few selections dealing with AGP compatibility and more. Within the DRAM Timing Setting submenu, the user has the ability to adjust the CAS Latency Time, Act to Precharge Delay, RAS to CAS Delay, and the RAS Precharge. The CAS Latency Time can be set to as low as 2.0 for maximum performance. This submenu also gives the user the ability to adjust the Burst Length to either 4 or 8. I would’ve preferred to see MSI include further memory timing tweaks, as we have seen other manufacturers beginning to include in their high performance motherboards BIOS’. Finally, the main Advanced Chipset Features menu allows for adjustment of the AGP Aperture.

..:: Integrated Peripherals ::..

The Integrated Peripherals window should as always be self explanatory for what it is responsible for. Within this window, the user can configure the IRQ settings of the integrated peripherals, along with enabling or disabling the ones that they wish to use or not to use for that matter. Within this menu, we can enable or disable several items such as the USB 2.0 Controller, USB Legacy Device Support, IEEE1394 Controller, Onboard Sound, LAN Controller, Onboard RAID Serial Ports, Parallel Port, and the Game / Midi Port as well. The On-Chip IDE Configuration submenu is where you would need to go if you wanted to enable, or disable the SATA / PATA support offered by the ICH5-R Southbridge, along with the selection of running a RAID array off of the ICH5-R.

..:: PC Health Status ::..

The next menu within the 865PE Neo2-FIS2R’s BIOS that we’ll be concerned with is that of the PC Health Status menu. Here we have the ability to check the system temperatures, RPM readings, and voltage readings. The only real option within this window is whether or not to enable the chassis intrusion header. If you’re unfamiliar with this option, there is a small header on the motherboard that can be connected to a switch, or other device of the system chassis that will display and alarm when the case has been opened. I would’ve preferred to see some other options located here, those being the CPU warning temperature alert, the system shutdown temperature, and the shutdown feature for the system if the CPU fan happens to fail. Each of these additional options could help keep your system running safely, much why I would like to see such options added.

..:: Frequency / Voltage Control ::..

The Frequency / Voltage Control menu is one that will cater to all levels of performance enthusiasts, and overclockers. MSI has really thrown in some nice options within this window to improve system performance. The first option we come across is something called, Dynamic Overclocking. If this feature is enabled, when the system is placed under a heavy processing load, the BIOS will intelligently raise the operating frequency of the FSB, and therefore add some extra system speed. This feature has several selectable options, all named dealing with military status, that each represent how much, percentage wise, the system will be overclocked. Private, the lowest level, represents a 1% overclocking, while General, the top selection, represents a 10% overclock. There are other selections available for overclocking levels between these two marks.

The next option we come across is “Performance Mode.” This is where you would go to either enable, or disable PAT for the 865PE Neo2-FIS2R. There are four options that are available for this setting, those being Slow, Fast, Turbo, and Ultra-Turbo. The Slow and Fast settings do not enable PAT, however Turbo and Ultra-Turbo do. In our benchmarks that will be coming shortly, we tested the board in both Fast, and Ultra-Turbo modes as not all users will be able to run in Ultra-Turbo due to memory limitations, etc.

As we move on, we next come across the DRAM Frequency selection. Here, you have the capability to set the DRAM frequency independently from the FSB. The available selections range from 266MHz, all the way to 533MHz. Below this setting, you have the ability to manually adjust a preset AGP & PCI clock in order to avoid each of these busses from being the limiting factor in any overclocking adventures.

The last settings that are available to the user all deal with the various voltages that can be applied to the processor, DRAM, and AGP. The VCore settings that are available range from a minimum of the default voltage to a maximum of up to 2.30V! The DRAM voltages that are available range from 2.50V all the way to 3.30V! The AGP voltages range from 1.50V to 2.20V! These are the highest allowable voltages we have seen offered, and they’ll certainly come in use when overclocking. Many of these voltages are far too high for any normal cooling solutions, but for those of you lucky enough to own a Prometia or likewise system, they might help you attain an even better overclock. A nice feature that deals with the voltage settings is that they are color coded. In other words, safe settings yield white text, performance settings yield yellow text, and red text means you shouldn’t be using this option.

..:: MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R Overclocking Performance ::..

Next up, let’s cover our overclocking experiences with the 865PE Neo2-FIS2R. The 865PE Neo2-FIS2R will not be one to disappoint, as we have already seen from the incredible voltage options offered by MSI within the BIOS. In order to achieve the highest possible FSB, we decided to lower the multiplier on our 3.20GHz P4 down to 12x, effectively making the processor 2.4GHz. We also set the DRAM frequency to 266MHz to avoid any RAM frequency limitations. From here, we slowly raised the FSB in small increments testing for instabilities. The highest level we were able to achieve with the combination of our 865PE Neo2-FIS2R and Corsair PC3500 RAM was right around 1215MHz! A little after this mark, we started to attain sizeable instability, however, we were still able to run some benchmarks with no problems. This overclock was attained with a stock core voltage, and a memory voltage of 2.8V. We were able to take our 3.20GHz processor to the maximum stable clock speed that we achieved in our review of this chip around one month ago. I didn’t want to pump any more voltage into the system to avoid damaging the processor or DRAM, but from the looks of things, the 865PE Neo2-FIS2R is going to gain some real attention from the overclocking crowd if it can keep showing numbers like this.