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Part 2 - Layout

The placement of the ATX connector is something that I will definitely have to highlight; once installed, itís almost touching the CPU heat sink. This placement issue will generally require disconnecting the ATX connector every time you would like to remove the heat sink.



The I/O back panel features the mouse, keyboard connectors (PS/2), four USB 2.0 connectors, one parallel printer port, one serial port, the standard AC97 audio connectors and the Gigabit Ethernet port.

Audio support on the FISR Max2 is provided by the C-Media 8738MX featuring a 6 Channel audio with the help of a MSI sound bracket. The bracket offers 2 SPDIF jacks for digital audio, one for optical and another one for a coaxial connection and 2 analog line out jacks for a standard 4 channel output. The C-Media solutions provides decent audio quality under standard 4 channel mode and quite a pleasant experience under the full 6 channel setup with the use of a digital connection. Having this solution on the Max2, I wouldnít have a problem using this option as my main sound source.

Serial ATA support is available thanks to the Promise††† PDC20376 chip. Two high speed Serial ATA ports (SER1 & SER2) are present on the board supporting 1st generation serial ATA data rates of up to 150MB/s. Each connector can connect one hard disk. The board features 3 IDE RAID connectors controlled by the Promise 20376 chip. IDE3 located horizontally around PCI slots 4 and 5 is a enhanced PCI IDE and Ultra DMA 66/100/133 controller providing PIO mode 0~5, and a Ultra DMA 66/100/133 function.

IEEE 1394 support is present on the board thanks to the VIA VT6306 chip. The chip is a complete single IEEE 1394 solution providing high speed plug and play connection to enabled IEEE 1394 products such as HDDís and video cameras. A bracket is present in the package offering three 1394 pin headers.

An interesting feature on the 845PE Max2 is itís on board Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller. The Intel 82540EM chip located close to the PCI slot number 2 provides a standard IEEE 802.3 Ethernet interface for 1000Base-T, 100Base-TX and 10Base-T application. The on board Ethernet adapter is capable of sending and receiving data at 1000 Mb/s, 100Mbís and 10Mb/s speeds in addition of providing a direct peripheral component interconnect (PCI 2.2) compliant bus speed up to 66MHz.


Thatís not the only bracket that our 845PE Max2 FISR sample had, featuring already some interesting features listed in the paragraphs above, a third bracket is in the bundle that has more than a single use. First you get an extra USB 2.0 port, a LED system allowing the user to identify system problems with the help of 4 LED lights capable of 16 different signals possible and possible Bluetooth support for wireless connectivity.








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