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Home » Motherboard
MSI K8N Diamond Plus Motherboard Review
Author: Gabriel Torres and Daniel Barros
Type: Reviews Last Updated: March 28, 2006
Page: 2 of 14
More Features
Hardware Secrets Golden Award

No special procedure is required to activate SLI mode on K8N Diamond Plus. Just connect two compatible video cards and the SLI mode will be activated. At last a very easy way to activate the SLI mode!

 

MSI K8N Diamond Plus
click to enlarge
Figure 6: PCI Express slots.

As you can see in Figure 6, now there is more space between the two x16 slots compared to older SLI motherboards. This makes it easier to install big SLI video cards and also improves the ventilation. All manufacturers adopted this design on their latest SLI-based motherboards. MSI also has placed two x1 PCI Express lots that can be used when only one video card is in use.

With SLI mode enabled it is necessary to install an extra power supply cable to the motherboard and MSI recommends a power supply of at least true 450 watts.

MSI K8N Diamond Plus
click to enlarge
Figure 7: Extra power connectors.


See how the additional +12V connector has eight wires (EPS12V) usually used by servers or Pentium D CPUs, but you can still use the regular 4-wire connector.

MSI K8N Diamond Plus has four DDR-DIMM sockets, supporting up to 4 GB RAM DDR266/333/400. MSI used green color on sockets 1 and 3, which are connected to memory channel 1, and purple color on sockets 2 and 4, which are connected to memory channel 2. Since to use DDR Dual Channel feature you need to install the memory modules on different channels, just install one module on a green socket and the other module on a purple socket to use DDR Dual Channel. It is important to note that other motherboards use a different system, where you need to install the modules in sockets using the same color (and not on sockets using different colors). This kind of lack of standardization generates trouble among less savvy users.

Talking about its storage features, this motherboard has two ATA-133 ports and four Serial ATA II ports controlled by the CK804 south bridge. These ports support TCQ (Tagged Command Queuing) and NCQ (Native Command Queuing), which improve disk performance if you use a hard disk drive featuring these technologies, and NVIDIA RAID feature that allows the use of parallel and serial ATA hard disk drives together in a RAID system of up to eight drives, supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD.

This motherboard also has two extra Serial ATA II ports controlled by Silicon Image SiI3132 chip supporting RAID 0 and 1. This board comes with four Serial ATA cables, two Serial ATA power adapters for up to four Serial ATA devices, two 80-wire flat-cables and one floppy disk drive cable, all rounded and red.

MSI K8N Diamond Plus
click to enlarge
Figure 8: Six SATA-300 ports, four controlled by CK804 south bridge and two controlled by SiI3132 chip.

MSI K8N Diamond Plus
click to enlarge
Figure 9: Cables and accessories.

On the networking side MSI K8N Diamond Plus has two Gigabit Ethernet ports. One is controlled by the C51D north bridge, being connected directly to the PCI Express bus, supporting ActiveArmor firewall system by NVIDIA, needing only one small chip for making the physical layer interface (Marvell 88E1115). The other Gigabit port is controller by Marvell 88E8053 chip, which is also connected to the PCI Express bus.

This motherboard also carries ten USB 2.0 ports, four soldered directly on the motherboard and six available through the use of I/O brackets (this motherboard comes with only one I/O bracket for two USB ports, so four USB ports are left over), and three FireWire ports (IEEE 1394a) controlled by VIA VT6306 chip, one soldered on the motherboards and two (one mini and other standard) through the use of an I/O bracket that comes with the motherboard.

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