VIA has since the launch of the P4 tried to manufacture a chipset for Intel Pentium4-CPUs but so far they have had no success what so ever. The turning point looks to come with the launch of the VIA PT880 chipset, which is very competitive as we have witnessed today. In performance it lands just between Intel's two own flagships, Canterwood and Springdale, which should be considered as a real achievement considering VIA's gloomy history on the Pentium4-market. The Prescott-support will surely win over many users since several of the best selling i865PE/i875P-based mainboards has showed stability issues with the new CPUs.
Furthermore it's not just performance that makes it competitive with Intel's chipsets. The new Southbridge, which has loads of features making it very competitive with its Serial ATA support and the possibility to implement up to 7.1-channels sound.
In general, good performance reflects the cost of the board but this is not the case when it comes to PT880. The chipset has namely a very attractive price and that's why we in the future most probably will see a whole bunch of PT880 mainboards.
MSI has always been quick implementing new technology and this is also the case with PT880. The mainboard we have tested today is among the first PT880 mainboards on the market and to be honest we are mighty impressed.
The PT880 Neo board is a very well worked-out product with great layout and really good BIOS. Performance is at its best and the price is ridiculously low. For no more than 800 SEK you can get a brand new PT880 Neo-LSR which not only kicks the more expensive Springdale-chipset in all tests, it is also a safe purchase for the future with its official Prescott-support. The mainboard's integrated features are also really good with among others the Serial ATA RAID-support. The fact that Firewire and GigabitLAN-support is missing makes no difference on a low budget board that runs over almost anything when it comes to mainboards as for today.
If you are looking for a fast mainboard with many features and a good value, the MSI PT880 Neo-LSR is a given choice.
NordicHardware awards MSI PT880 Neo-LSR the prize of best low budget choice.
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