MSI P965 Neo-F For Core 2 Duo

Article Index
MSI P965 Neo-F For Core 2 Duo
Board Layout - Up Close
Very Standard BIOS - Lean on Tweaking
Test Setup and Early Benchmarks
Application Benchmarks - Continued...
Game Performance and Benchmarking
Game Benchmarking - Continued...
Overclocking the P965 Neo-F
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Product: MSI P965 Neo-F
Provided By: Memory Express
Price: $129.95CDN @


A month or so ago MemoryExpress set us up with an Intel DG965WH motherboard and a sweet Intel Core 2 Duo E6600.  This system blew us away in terms of sheer performance, but the motherboard had a few issues.  The truth is, the motherboard they graciously provided was a pre-production motherboard that was still in Beta.  Today we are looking at the MSI P965 Neo-F motherboard in all it's final goodness and are going to compare it to the pre-production board we used in our Core 2 Duo vs. Pentium D article we posted up in August.  Please stick around as some of the performance numbers are quite interesting as you'll see on the following pages.

P965 Goodness
P965 Goodness

The P965 Neo-F motherboard comes in a pretty classy box, but with very few extras as you can see below.  Not included in the picture are the driver CD and manual.  This motherboard bundle is quite different from MSI graphics card bundles that come with a ton of software, games and applications.  This unit is very lean.

Very Lean Bundle
 Very Lean Bundle

Motherboard View
 Motherboard View

As you can see by the pictures above, the motherboard is traditional MSI Fire Engine red and has a fairly clean layout.  Before we take a closer look at the layout, we'll take a look at the specifications as listed by MSI.

MSI Reminds you:
Because of the limitations of chipset, this MB does not support Win98/ME. 


  • Supports Socket 775 for Intel Core2 Duo, Pentium 4 (Prescott, P4EE), Pentium D, Pentium XE/Celeron D processors in LGA 775 package
  • Supports FSB 533/800/1066 MHz
  • Supoprts Intel 05B/05A and 04B/04A processors
  • Supoprts EIST techonology
  • Supports Intel Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology
  • Supports Intel Dual Core Technology to 1066MHz

Intel® P965 Chipset

  • Supports FSB 533MHz, 800MHz & 1066MHz
  • Support Dual channel DDR2 533/667/800 memory interface up to 8GB (with DDR2 800, memory only up to 2GB)
  • Support PCI Express 16X interface

Intel® ICH8 Chipset

  • Integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controller, 480Mb/sec, 8 ports
  • 4 Serial ATAII ports w/ transfer rate up to 300MB/s
  • PCI Master v 2.3, I/O ACPI 2.0 Compliant
  • Integrated AHCI controller


  • Support FSB 533 MHz, 800MHz & 1066MHz

Main Memory

  • Supports 4 unbuffered DIMM of 1.8 Volt DDR2 SDRAM
  • Supports up to 8GB memory size (with DDR2 800, memory only up to 2GB)
  • Support Dual Channel DDR2 533/677/800MHz and up

Due to the High Performance Memory design, motherboards or system configurations may or may not operate smoothly at the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standard settings (BIOS Default on the motherboard) such as DDR2 voltage, memory speeds and memory timing. Please confirm and adjust your memory setting in the BIOS accordingly for better system stability.
Example: Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 PC6400 operates at 2.0V, 4-4-4-12.
For more information about specification of high performance memory modules, please check with your Memory Manufactures for more details.


  • One PCI Express 16X slots (PCI Express Bus SPEC V1.0a compliant)
  • Two PCI Express 1X slot (PCI Express Bus SPEC V1.0a compliant)
  • Three PCI 2.3 32-bit Master PCI Bus slots. (support 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface)

On-Board IDE

  • One Ultra DMA 66/100/133 IDE controller integrated in JMicron JMB361
  • Supports PIO, Bus Master operation modes
  • Can connect up to 2 Ultra ATA 133 drives
  • Serial ATAII controller integrated in ICH8 and JMicron JMB361
  • Up to 300MB/s transfer speed
  • Can connect up to 5 Serial ATA II drives (4 drives from ICH8R, 1 drive from JMB361)
  • Supports SATAII hot plug

On-Board Peripherals

  • 1 floppy port supports 1 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
  • 2 Serial port (COM A & pin-out)
  • 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
  • 8 USB 2.0 ports (Rear x 4/** Front x 4)(** Front USB ports are supported by pin-out)
  • 1 6-in-1 audio jack (S/SPDIF out)
  • 2 PS/2 connectors
  • 1 LAN RJ45 connector


  • High Definition link controller integrated in Intel ICH8R chip
  • Audio codec Realtek 883
  • Compliance with Azalia 1.0 spec
  • Flexible 8 Ch. audio with jack sensing


  • Realtek RTL8110SC PCI 2.2 Gb LAN Controller


  • The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
  • The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications.

      12in.(L) x 8.7in.(W) ATX Form Factor
      6 mounting holes


On the next page we are going to get a little more personal with this motherboard.