Motherboard Layout

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The MSI K8T Neo has a strong resemblance to many of MSI’s prior motherboards, and that is a good way to start things out.

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The CPU socket for the Athlon 64 processors is now much more standardized than it used to be with the Athlon XP processors. With the retention clip, nearly every motherboard is going to have the same standard CPU socket layout simply because they have to. The only non-standard heatsink I have used in house is the Zalman CNPS7000 and there weren’t any installation or contact issues – the DIMMs are far enough away from the CPU socket to not interfere with the large wingspan of the heatsink.

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The ATX power connector is placed at the right edge of the PCB, keeping it away from the CPU fan blades. The ATX12V connector is located next to the north bridge and below the processor, which makes it a bit of a hassle to find and install, but it is not a major concern at all.

The DIMMs slots are placed far enough to the top of the motherboard that they do not interfere with the AGP card at all (which is a welcome change from the majority of our Athlon XP motherboards recently).

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The north bridge is topped off with a firmly attached heatsink to dissipate the heat the chip produces. Our tests haven’t shown a lot of heat coming from the K8T800 chipset (probably due to the lack of a memory controller) and thus you probably won’t see the same complicated north bridge cooling solutions that you saw on the K7 line of VIA motherboards.

The primary IDE and floppy connectors are located on the right side of the PCB below the ATX power connector. They are above the level of the AGP card so there should not be any interference with other connectors.

Just like in our Asus K8V Deluxe review, the MSI K8T Neo motherboard has 4 SerialATA connectors: two from the VIA 8237 south bridge and the other two are from the Promise 20378 chipset. The Promise chip also provides an additional IDE channel for use with the SATA channels or independently.

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As you can see above, the case connectors are color coded for easy installation. This is one of those features that I have fallen in love with and find myself getting upset when I get a board without it. How quickly we get spoiled. 🙂

The slot configuration gives the user 5 PCI slots, which should be more than enough with the features that are included on the MSI K8T Neo-FISR motherboard.

Overall, the board layout is decent, and I don’t have any major gripes about anything that I used.

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