I like my mobos as I like my pizzas: good value and loaded with everything on it (though if they could be supplied with free Häagen-Dazs that would be a clincher). MSI’s latest and greatest has got all this covered… apart from the ice cream.
Based on the hugely successful K8N Diamond, the K8N Diamond Plus is a rock em, sock em Socket 939 creation built from the latest nForce4 SLI X16 chipset. MSI has designed it with the overclocker in mind building in incrementally adjustable CPU and memory module speed settings. Don’t worry about fitting in two fat high end graphics cards either, since MSI has deliberately widened the gap between the two PCIe slots to ensure even lardiest of offerings squeezes in.
To avoid extra noise, the Plus employs a heatpipe design (similar to the Silent OTES technology we reviewed from Abit), while to create more the company has integrated a SoundBlaster Audigy SE. The upgraded card now has high level 24bit/192KHz sampling, a 106dB S/N ratio and uses Creative’s EAX Advanced HD technology.
As you would expect, connectivity options are vast. Coupled up with the two 16x PCIe slots are two further PCI v2.3 slots, four SATA II ports, support for RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and two ATA 133 channels so you can connect up to four IDE drives. Eight USB2.0 ports are provided as standard along with Gigabit LAN and while one thing it does lack is wireless out of the box, there is a slot to plug in one of MSI’s dual-net cards.
Last, but by no means least (in a bread-is-an-important-if-not-exciting-part-of-pizzas-too, kinda way) is CoreCell. This technology monitors the entire system, fine tuning voltage and fan speeds and also auto downloading the latest Bios and drivers. This wonderful last feature is a boon only those of you who have spent hours trawling through a pigeon English Taiwanese website can really appreciate. Bois Upgade anyone?!
Out in the next couple of weeks, the K8N Diamond Plus will retail for what seems to be a very reasonable £129.25 including VAT. With Chrimbo belting towards us at a disconcertingly fast rate and the terrifying images of winter slush, royal speeches, “comedy” slippers and ITV specials thundering alongside it, I feel cynical enough to say this won’t be the worst purchase you’ll make this year…
(Quick Tip: Women like candles and/or picture frames. I have no idea why, they just do.)