Considering the funds I had available at the time of the build, I had to go with the cheapest of the 939 Athlon 64 processors, the 3000+, clocked at 1.8 GHz (9 x 200). I didn't cover CPU steppings in the 754 article because, as I had mentioned in that article, each CPU will overclock differently. For those of you that are big on steppings, this CPU is a CBBID 0503EPGW. I will admit that curiosity got the better of me and while I was waiting for the motherboard to arrive, I searched Google for this stepping and only found a handful of results. The majority of those reported negative comments on the ability to overclock this chip, but I did see one or two that had success. This again confirms my saying that not all CPU's are created equally.
It has become widely known in the 939 community that if you are serious about overclocking and you still use an AGP card, the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum is the board to beat all others.
At the time I was looking to pick up this board, and even as I write this article today (3-5-05), this board is in very high demand and was/is still out of stock at most of the larger online hardware resellers. While trying to find a store on ResellerRatings.com that actually had this board in stock, I ran across KC-Computers. The first thing that caught my eye about these guys was their perfect 10 rating on ResellerRatings. I checked their site only to find an extensive list of items for sale, comparable to some of the larger sites out there. Their perfect 10 rating comes from excellent customer support. They offer lifetime support on all items they sell and a one year replacement warranty on most items. Should you need to RMA a product, KC-Computers will ship you the replacement part first.
This sounded like my kind of place. I contacted the owner of KC-computers via email and received a speedy reply. This came even when he was on vacation! The guys at KC agreed to sponsor the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum for this article and it was at my doorstep in less than a week.
(Pic copyright Newegg.com)
Packaged with the Neo2 Platinum were a set of red rounded IDE cables, red floppy cable, two orange SATA cables, rear I/O plate, 4-pin Molex to SATA power adapter, rear PCI slot USB add-in bracket for two additional USB ports as well as the motherboard manual, motherboard description poster and test results booklet. The results test booklet gives testing results for several hardware configurations tested with the Neo2 Platinum.
I am not going to go too far in depth with this board. If you are looking for an in-depth review on the Neo2, a quick search on Google will produce several reviews.
One thing I do want to comment on, however, is the Northbridge cooling. Continue ahead as we investigate this...