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MSI P4N Diamond Board Preview

Vr-Zone brings you a preview of the MSI P4N Diamond based on Nvidia Nforce 4 SLI Intel Edition MCP. It is a feature-packed board with Bluetooth, 802.11G, SATA-II, Creative Live! onboard sound etc.

Nvidia’s latest SLI technology based on the Nforce 4 SLI MCP has created huge
waves in the enthusiast market, with extreme gamers and 3D benchmarkers cowering
over the AMD-based SLI platform. With Nvidia’s hybrid license, enabling them
to manufacture the Nforce 4 SLI MCP for Intel platforms, MSI brings to you their
latest P4N Diamond, integrated with breathtaking features such as SLI, Bluetooth,
802.11G, SATA-II, Creative onboard sound and more. Before we proceed further,
let’s take a look at the specifications of the P4N Diamond:


CPU Support Intel LGA775 Pentium 4/Celeron D processors
Memory Support 4 slots, DDR400, 4GB Max
Chipset NVIDIA nForce4 SLI MCP for Intel
Expansion Slots

1 x PCI-Express x8/x16
1 x PCI-Express x8/x1
1 x PCI-Express x1
2 x PCI 32bit/33MHz

Audio 8 Channel Hardware Audio via Creative sound Blaster Live 24-bit H/W audio
controller CA0106
Wolfson 8775 ADC, Cirrus Logic CS4382 DAC
IDE 2 x ATA133
SATA 2 x SATA II via Silicon Image’s 3132 SATA-II RAID
Networking Marvell 8053 Gigabit Ethernet controller
NVLAN via Marvell 88E1111 PHY
802.11G/Bluetooth Wireless LAN PCI Card Included
RAID SATA RAID 0,1 via SIL3132 PCI Controller
Cross SATA/PATA 0,1,5, 0+1,JBOD via NVRaid
Firewire VIA VT6306 Firewire 400
USB 2.0 4 on rear panel, 6 via onboard headers, 10 in total
Power Connector 20/24pin ATX supported
Form Factor ATX, 305mm x 244mm
BIOS 4M bit flash ROM, AMI BIOS

Initial impressions

MSI is one of the only mainboard manufacturers that includes a Bluetooth dongle
in their mainboard package, and following the trend of Asus and Gigabyte MSI
includes a 802.11G Wireless dongle with the mainboard. MSI also included 2 Gigabit
Lan ports on the board, as well as 6 SATA-II ports, 4 by NVIDIA’s MCP04 southbridge
and 2 by Silicon Image’s SIL3132 2 port SATA-II solution.

The Intel version of the NForce 4 now supports RAID 5 too, allowing users to
span the RAID array across IDE and the SATA ports onboard, quite a nifty inclusion
I’d say, as more and more users are mirroring their hard drives now for additional
data security, and RAID 5 is always welcomed as it has always proved to be a
cheaper option than RAID1.

The onboard solution of the P4N Diamond isn’t too shabby too, with MSI abandoning
the AC97 capabilities of the NForce 4 chipset and placing a Creative SB Live
CA0106 chip onboard, coupled with a set of high end Wolfson ADC and Cirrus Logic
DAC. Quality onboard sound is pretty essential to users nowadays, due to the
reduction in the number of 32bit PCI slots, and PCI-E x1 devices are practically

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