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Micro-Star MSI P4N Diamond architecture

Evgenie Rudometov

Responding to inquiries of the market, company Micro-Star International has developed and has released high-powered motherboard MSI P4N Diamond with support of a two-channel subsystem of dynamic storage on the basis of DDR units II 667 and with implementation of the modern processing technique SLI providing simultaneous usage of two videoadapters

Company Micro-Star International (MSI) does not require special representation. Its products well-known to domestic users. Especially it concerns motherboards.

As an example of one of advanced models it is possible to result MSI P4N Diamond. In this card have found incarnation many perspective obshcheotraslevye processing techniques, including modern SLI, providing considerable productivity of a video subsystem of the computer at the expense of usage of two videoadapters.

The part from current technologies is realised through recently developed chipset of system logic (chip set) nVidianForce4 SLIIntel Edition.

Chip set nVidianForce4 SLIIntel Edition

Fig. 1. Structure of the computer created on the basis of a chip set nVidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition

The chip set nVidianForce4 SLIIntel Edition (nForth4 SLIIE) represents one of modifications nVidianForce4.

The bar of chip sets nVidia nForth4


nForth4 SLI

nForth4 SLI

nForth4 Ultra


Platform support





The processor

Intel P4 Socket 775

Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64

Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64, Sempron

Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64, Sempron

Number/pattern of lines PCI Express

20 lines, a flexible pattern

20 lines, a flexible pattern

20 lines, the fixed pattern (16,1,1,1)

20 lines, the fixed pattern (16,1,1,1)











Support SATA of disks

4 (3Gb/s)

4 (3Gb/s)

4 (3Gb/s)

4 (1.5Gb/s)

Support PATA of disks










Built in Gigabit Ethernet





The chip set nForth4 SLIIE is oriented to creation of high-powered desktop personal computers. Supports systems with the high-powered processors of Intel created on processing technique of 90 nanometers, hooked up through LGA775 plug and working with bus FSB of type QPB (Quad-Pumped Bus). It can be, for example, IntelPentium  4, Pentiums 4 ExtremeEdition, Pentium D, PentiumExtreme Edition, CeleronD. Clock rate of the processor bus can make 266, 200, 133 MHz.

Traditionally for chipsets of system logic the chip set nForth4 SLIIE consists of two components presented by two chips and fulfilling functions NorthBridge and SouthBridge. These chips the manufacturer have received name SPP and MCP.

Chip set components are jointed by bidirectional bus HyperTransport (frequency of operation of 800 MHz).

Built in in SPP the controller of processor bus FSB of type QPB supports the bus with clock rate of 266/200/133 MHz that provides data transfer on frequencies of 1066/800/533 MHz.

Built in interface PCIExpress X16 provides possibility of sharing on two separate channels PCIExpress X8 for the organisation of mode SLI  — the processing technique providing usage of two videoadapters.

For support of high-speed resources about 3 ports PCIExpress X1 are provided.

The memory controller provides support of two and one-channel functional modes of memory DDR II SDRAM (Double Data Rate SDRAM — SDRAM with data transfer on lobbies and back edges of clock pulses of the bus of memory). Patterns with usage of DDR units II SDRAM, 667 on frequencies 667 both 533 MHz and installed in four DIMM slots are possible  . Different frequency functional modes for processor and memory buses are supported.

Handle of computer peripheral devices is carried out by the second component of a chip set — MCP.

The built in resources of a chip of handle of peripheral devices of a base set support: to 4 ports Serial ATA of standard SATA-300 (SATA II, 300 Mb per second, support NCQ), to two ports ATA-133, possibility of the organisation of array RAID of levels 0, 1 and 0+1 from the hard disk drives which have been hooked up to any of built in controllers ATA, to six PCI slots (to 5 arrangements Bus Master), to ten arrangements USB 2.0, controller MAC for a local area network 10/100/1000 Mbit/with (Gigabit Ethernet), audiosredsta AC ' 97 (7.1) and modem MC ' 97; bus LPC.

Structure of package MSI P4N Diamond

Fig. 2. Motherboard MSIP4N Diamond package

Into structure of a package of card MSI P4N Diamond enter:

        the Packing box,

        Motherboard MSI P4N Diamond,

        the Panel of input/output corresponding to specification ATX 2.01, 

        the Documentation,

        the Compact disc with the software,

        the Diskette with drivers RAID,

        Cables for hooking up Serial ATA, ATA66/100/133, Floppy,

        Plancks with external plugs,

        the Optional map of the extension for the organisation of a wireless network.

The main technical parametres of motherboard MSI P4N Diamond

Fig. 3. Motherboard MSIP4N Diamond

Fig. 4. Motherboard MSIP4N Diamond plugs

The processor

        Support of the processor of Intel of Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 Extreme Edition / Pentium D / Pentium Extreme Edition / Celeron D in tank LGA775 with the system bus 533, 800, 1066 MHz,

Chip set

        nVidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition (SPP + MCP).

Dynamic storage

        Four plugs (240 contact electrodes) for dynamic storage DIMM,

        Support of one or two channels of dynamic storage,

        DDR Units II 667 either DDR II 533, or DDR II 400, size from 256 Mb to 4 Gbytes everyone.


        Support of processing technique SLI.


        Sound Blaster Live 24-bit from Creative audio the controller on chip CA0106.

Serial ATA

        Four ports Serial ATA 150.


        Two ports IDE (Ultra DMA 66/100/133).


        Support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1.

USB 2.0

        Ten ports USB 2.0.


        Ten ports USB 2.0.


        two network plugs Are supported.
- 1st LAN plug supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by means of chip Marvell 88E1111 phy,
- 2nd PCI Express LAN plug supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by means of chip Marvell 88E8053.

System BIOS

        BIOS the motherboard supports a mode "Plug&Play" which automatically defines peripheral devices and extension maps.

        the System board has function Desktop Management Interface (DMI) which remembers motherboard parametres.

Plugs of input/output of a backboard

        One parallel port,

        One serial port,

        keyboard and mouse Ports PS/2,

        One coaxial SPDIF an output

        One sound 6-v-1 plug (S/SPDIF out)

        One port IEEE1394,

        Four ports USB 2.0,

        Two RJ-45 plugs.


        One PCI slot Express X16 (works in a mode h16/h8),

        One PCI slot Express X16 (works in a mode h8/h1),

        One PCI slot Express X1,

        Two PCI slots.

Form factor


        the Sizes of 305 mm h 244 mm.

Features of MSI P4N Diamond architecture

The design of motherboard MSI P4N Diamond as a whole corresponds to the standards traditional for models ATX.

High efficiency of modern chips of the system logic consisting of many tens millions of transistors, working on very high clock rates, is accompanied considerable teploobrazovaniem. It demands appropriate resources of cooling (a Fig. 5).

Fig. 5. Chips SPP and MCP with cooling resources

It is necessary to mark, that motherboard MSI P4N Diamond is oriented as a basis of powerful desktop systems. Therefore together with the given card it is necessary to apply high-powered, topovye processors (though usage and concerning weak models is possible).

The same concerns and a dynamic storage subsystem where it is expedient to use DDR units II SDRAM standard DDR II 667, hooked up to system in a two-channel pattern.

From the major features it is necessary to mark implementation of processing technique SLI. This processing technique provides application in a graphics subsystem of two videoadapters. These adapters in a mode of multisequencing of calculations participate in high-speed creation and output of each of the generated frames of the video map. It provides reception of the limiting game productivity considerably exceeding productivity of traditional solutions: quite often more than in one and a half time.

Used videoadapters can be installed in two special slots resulted in a Fig. 6.

Fig. 6. Motherboard MSI P4N Diamond plugs

These slots support specifications PCI Express x16. Two modes are Thus possible: the usual mode and mode SLI.В a usual mode the first PCI-E plug works in mode PCI Express x16, and second PCI-E plug works in mode PCI Express x1.

In mode SLI the first PCI-E plug works in mode PCI Express x8 and second PCI-E plug works also in mode PCI Express x8.

Here it is necessary to mark, that MSI P4N Diamond is the motherboard in which program switching from a mode of one videocard in mode SLI is supported. In earlier competing solutions this switching was carried out manually by means of the special laths jointing videoadapters.

From one more feature of the architecture it is necessary to mark an audiosubsystem. A basis is Sound Blaster Live 24-bit from Creative — audio the controller on chip CA0106 (audio 24-bit, 96~192КГц, a signal to noise ratio 100дБ, modes of 7.1 channels of audio, system Surround Sound, processing technique Dolby Digital are supported, digital interface S/PDIF is supported, corresponds to specification PCI 2.3).

Two network controllers Gigabit Ethernet are built in the motherboard architecture. Hooking up to a local computer network is carried out through built in RJ45 (LAN plugs.

Drives on hard magnetic disks (HDD) are hooked up by means of ports Serial ATA 150 and ports Parallel ATA-133. For rise of dependability of subsystem HDD it is possible to use RAID — RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, RAID 5, JBOD

Power supply of units of motherboard MSI P4N Diamond is carried out through system of impulse stabilising devices.

In a multi-channel impulse surge protector of the processor (a Fig. 7), traditionally allocated round a processor socket, the considerable quantity of filtering capacitors is applied.

Except this converter, on the card there are additional converters of supply voltage PCI Express  x16 (two PCIExpress X8) and dynamic storage units (a Fig. 7).

Fig. 7. VRM motherboard MSI P4N Diamond

In motherboard MSI P4N Diamond architecture possibilities of hardware monitoring (chip Winbond W83627THF), providing the control over supply voltages (the processor, +3,3 In, +5 In, +12 In and +5 In Standby), by temperature (the processor and the card) and operation of cooling fans (the processor and northern bridge) are realised.

It is necessary to mark also, that in motherboard MSI P4N Diamond architecture a number of the firm processing techniques facilitating maintenance of the computer and expanding its functional properties is realised. Such hardware-software developments concern them, as CoreCell 2, DOTExpress, LiveUpdate 3 and others, for example.

The high-powered card MSI P4N Diamond which has embodied in the architecture a number of the newest, perspective processing techniques, can be recommended a wide range of users.

Motherboard MSI P4N Diamond is given by the Moscow representation of company Micro-Star International (

Article is published in log the Computer the Price (Computer Price).

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