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Review: MSI 648 MAX Motherboard

by Tarinder Sandhu on 25 October 2002, 00:00

Tags: MSI

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MSI 648 Max Motherboard Review

Potential Pentium 4 owners have usually been put off by the relatively high price that Intel processors usually attract, and the relative expense of Pentium 4-based motherboards. Those on a relatively limited budget tended to opt towards Intel's arch-rival, AMD, in order to maximise their price to performance ratio.

The impressive scaling of the present Northwood core has meant that newer processors have been brought to market perhaps a little earlier than we had expected. As you may know, the introduction of newer processors tends to coincide with the lowering of existing CPUs' prices. As it currently stands, the introduction of the Pentium 4 2.8GHz processor has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the range. You can now buy a 2.4GHz Northwood retail processor for around £165. With these processors often reaching 3GHz on air, the impetus for the enthusiast to change over to Intel has never been greater since the Celeron 300 days.

Cheaper CPU are one part of the equation. Intel-based motherboards have usually attracted a price premium over their AMD counterparts. SiS (Silicon Integrated Systems) have sought to rectify this with their brand of low price coupled with high performance.

SiS' initial Pentium 4 645 chipset proved that it could be stable, fast, and cheap; so much so that all major motherboard manufacturers had at least one SiS-based Pentium 4 motherboard in their range. In the intervening months SiS, like Intel and VIA, have periodically updated their chipset to accommodate newer technologies as and when they arise. The current 648 chipset is the culmination of SiS' Pentium 4 motherboard expertise. If you need a quick refresher with respect to exactly what's new, head over here

MSI (Micro-Star International), already having successful SiS645 and SiS645DX motherboards in their range, were only too keen to showcase the new 648 chipset with a revised 'board. Let's see just how good the MSI 648 Max is, and how fares against some of its immediate competition as we take a trip on the review bus. Firstly, a look at the specifications in detail.