A Closer Look - K8NGM2-FID
The K8NGM2-FID is privileged to have all the charms of both the GeForce 6150 IGP and nForce 430 MCP. Entertainment-wise, its onboard graphics capabilities with NVIDIA PureVideo should be able to fulfill your needs for HD video acceleration up to 1080i standards, high-quality video scaling and dual monitor output. However, the motherboard will only accept DVI-D (DVI-D does away with analog conversion and has four less pins than DVI-I) connections with a digital monitor. This is due to the single RAMDAC of the GeForce 6150, which makes it impossible to have two analog outputs, so make sure you have the correct cable (and a DVI capable monitor). However, VGA and DVI aren't the only two output options available. The board also comes bundled with a bracket for Component and S-Video output as well.
Being a PCI Express chipset, the motherboard features a PCIe x16 slot as well as one PCIe x1 slot for expansion possibilities. If you so wish, you could equip the K8NGM2-FID with a discreet graphics card for the sake of higher graphics performance or the ability to have quad display output.
Audio is supported with Realtek's 8-channel HD CODEC, the ALC880. With this chip, you should be able to enjoy 'stereophile' audio quality up to 192 kHz/24-bit without incurring too much CPU usage, which is a perfect match for a home theater system. The only problem however, is that the board only ships with three analog jacks. Even utilizing its jack sensing function, you would get at maximum 6-channel analog output. Making a quick check with MSI's website shows that retail board will actually ship with a full surround bracket, including S/PDIF ports as well, but MSI also notes that product bundles may change in different regions. Buyers are advised to check with their local retailer on exact bundle details.
Besides, its entertainment focus, the K8NGM2-FID also comes with a pretty mean productivity package. The K8NGM2-FID's nForce 430 MCP supports up to four SATA 3.0Gbps connectors with advanced RAID support of RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 and MediaShield compatibility. The board will also benefit from NVIDIA's Gigabit LAN (through a Vitesse VSC8201RX PHY) and ActiveArmor hardware firewall technology. Lower end models that are based on the nForce 410 MCP are limited to Fast Ethernet, only two SATA 3.0Gbps ports with scaled down RAID support and no ActiveArmor available. As a final addition, the premium version of the board (as reviewed here) will also feature a standard 2-port FireWire-400 controller (VIA VT6307).
Like all other GeForce 6150/6100 implementations, the K8NGM2-FID is a micro-ATX board and once you let that fact sink down, you'll realize what a marvelous job MSI has done on the design to ensure every feature is made available. It even has the PCIe x1 slot placed above the x16 slot and contoured the already mini IGP heatsink to ensure that future expansion cards can be slotted in. Power components are also generously spaced out for more efficient cooling, but the one drawback is a very tightly spaced CPU socket area.
The following overclocking options could be found in the BIOS of the MSI K8NGM2-FID:-
- FSB Settings: 200MHz to 250MHz
- PCIe Frequency: 100MHz to 148.5MHz (in 1.56MHz steps)
- RAM Frequency: DDR200, DDR266, DDR333, DDR400
- Memory Voltage Settings: 2.50V to 2.90V (in 0.05V steps), 2.90 to 3.10V (in 0.10V steps)
Overclocking is practically non-existent on the board due to the lack of a CPU multiplier selector, so it doesn't even matter if you have a locked or unlocked processor. The board doesn't even have any CPU and chipset voltage options as well. With a 2.2GHz Athlon 64 3500+ that is already running on an 11x multiplier, our maximum stable FSB overclock came in at 210MHz. This result is a far cry from the 280MHz achieved from the last two GeForce 6150/6100 motherboards we've tested, Gigabyte's GA-K8N51GMF-9 and the WinFast 6150K8MA-8EKRS.