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MSI 845PE Max2 FISR Mainboard

It has been quite a while that we we’re looking forward to get our hands on an MSI product here at Target PC, luckily with last year’s Comdex we we’re finally able to built a relation ship with the company and from now on will be able to provide information and reviews on MSI products on regular basis.

In this article we are looking at their state of the art 845PE Max2 FISR mainboard. As the name is describing it, the 845PE Max2 is based on the Intel 845PE chipset spotting support for DDR333, Hyper-Threading and tons of other external features.

The Board
  • DDR333+Gigabit
  • LAN+IEEE1394+Serial ATA RAID
  • C-Media 5.1 Channel Audio
  • 533/400MHz FSB
  • DDR333/266/200
  • Promise Serial ATA RAID, IEEE1394
  • Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mbs
  • Bluetooth Ready


~150$ USD

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Intel 845PE Desktop Solution

The Intel 845PE chipset has been around for some time now but let’s take a quick look at its most prominent features.

  • 533MHz and 400MHz System Bus
  • Hyper-Threading Technology Support
  • DDR333/266 SDRAM
  • Integrated Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (6 Ports)
  • Ultra ATA/100
  • AGP4X Interface
  • Intel® Hub Architecture

Overall the biggest improvement with the 845PE is the support for DDR333 and Hyper-Threading.  With DDR333 the maximum theoretical bandwidth is now 2.7GB/s.  VIA and SIS already had DDR333 chipsets for the Pentium 4 some time before the release of the 845PE, but with the release of the “PE” chip Intel is finally making it official.


If we would put ten motherboards all together, spotting the MSI product would be very easy due its red PCB and its MSI branded heat sink fan combo that cools the north bridge. As I already mentioned in the beginning, the 845PE Max2 is a motherboard with more features than you could possibly imagine; from everything the Intel 845PE offers to extra’s such as a Gigabit Ethernet controller and Serial ATA support.

Being focused for the more intense user base, the 845PE Max2 FISR spots a maximum expansion for an 845 solution featuring a total of 6 PCI slots, one AGP 4x 1.5v slot and
One CNR (Communication Network Riser) slot. Three DIMM slots are present on the board supporting up to 2GB of DDR333/DDR266 of non-ECC DDR memory. Note that in order to use the PC2700 DDR333 memory a 533MHz front side bus is required.

One design flaw we have found on the 845PE Max2 is the interference between the memory banks and the video card. This little issue has been noticed on several of today motherboards including on our previously reviewed P4/AMD boards and generally requires removing larger video cards such as the GeForce4 4600 in order to add a memory module.

Three fan connectors are present on the board, with one already being assigned for the north bridge resulting in two free. Of course the remaining one for the CPU fan and the other for an extra fan for people wanting to get a better air flow. I would have preferred to see an extra fan header on the 845PE Max2 to really satisfy the hardcore overclocker looking for the maximum airflow.

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