Summary

Our Score

8/10

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MSI 915GM Speedster-FA4 Pentium-M Motherboard - MSI 915GM Speedster-FA4 Pentium-M Motherboard

A total of four SATA ports, a single IDE and a floppy drive make up drive connectivity. This should be plenty for a small board as this, since the small cases this is most likely to go in won’t have room for four hard drives. Note that the Intel ICH6 only supports SATA and not SATA-II, so if this is a concern you might want to consider a different board.

A bracket is supplied with four USB 2.0 ports, while another bracket hosts four-pin and an eight-pin FireWire 400 ports. You also get a SATA power splitter for two SATA drives and two SATA cables. An IDE and floppy cable round off the supplied peripherals.

The Speedster has the same memory limitations as the i915GMm-HFS, in as much as it can be fitted with either DDR 333MHz memory or DDR2 400 or 533MHz modules.

Seeing as the chipset is designed for a Pentium M, a notebook chip a fan isn’t required much of the time. MSI has designed the Speedster with passive cooling in mind and the 915GM chipset has a massive heatsink fitted. The ICH6 is covered by a much smaller heatsink, but it should still do the job just fine.

One improvement over the AOpen i915GMm-HFS is the CPU cooler, as MSI has gone for a standard Pentium 4 Socket-478 mounting bracket and used a modified low-profile server type heatsink. This isn’t passive and has a rather large 60mm fan fitted. During use this is noisier than the AOpen cooler, but in its favour it also stopped more frequently. You can’t switch it off entirely but the frequency with which it comes on can be adjusted in the BIOS. In fact, during testing the CPU heatsink didn’t even get warm to the touch so as long as you’re using this board in a case with good airflow you should be able to remove the fan altogether, though that would be at your own risk. A quick note on the retention brackets for the cooler; these require the grips to point inwards or they’ll block the power connector.

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