Retail Box Contents
Inside the 645E Max2-LRU retail box you will find the following standard equipment: the MSI 645E Max2-LRU motherboard, one Floppy cable, two ATA-66/100/133 EIDE cables, one USB -D-Bracket (2 ports), one USB 2.0 bracket (4 ports), one Audio S-Bracket, a driver CD, a MSI DVD 5.1 Channel CD, a "Geared by MSI" case sticker, and a full hardcopy user manual. While this is an excellent selection, we would have liked to see an ATX backplate included with the LAN equipped versions. New PCs will not be affected, but upgraders should make sure their current backplate includes the space for an RJ-45 jack above the two USB ports.
The MSI user manual is well organized and includes detailed and easy to follow diagrams for the basic install procedure. This is helpful to new users, while experienced techs will appreciate the attention to detail and the full audio software and IDE RAID setup instructions. Even though it is purely an aesthetic point, the metallic green of the retail box and manual is certainly different and plays well on the current MSI strategy of using different metallic hues for their extensive motherboard lines. The MSI driver CD includes the SiS motherboard drivers, programs such as Fuzzy Logic3 (overclocking software), Live BIOS (online BIOS updater), Live Driver (online driver updater), Live Monitor (online driver/BIOS file manager), and the Acard 6880 RAID drivers.
A new SiS 645DX motherboard with a host of on-board options might seem like a tough installation, but not so with the 645E Max2-LRU, and both the hardware and software installs progressed very smoothly. These 645DX motherboards virtually set themselves up, with only a simple driver update needed for full performance and functionality. The MSI driver CD also installed the LAN, RAID and integrated Audio drivers quite seamlessly and there were no problems from start to finish. Best of all, the integrated hardware all worked as promised, making this a great option for both the new or experienced system builder.
We also tested the 645E Max2-LRU using both the SiS IDE and ACARD IDE RAID controllers, with both being a very smooth load with no issues. The only potential problem is the absence of driver floppy for the RAID controller, so you'll either have to manually extract it from the CD or load Windows using the standard IDE port, install the RAID drivers and then switch the IDE cables. Using either method, performance is excellent and the driver installation is a breeze.
The board's integrated features are also quite easy to install and use. Other than needing to add a few PCI brackets here and there, the whole procedure is a real snap. Within minutes after we finished the OS load, we had the network DSL online and the audio activated and playing a few choice tunes. So far, the SiS 645DX motherboards have not only impressed us with high performance at a low cost, but are also just about the easiest platform to setup and get running.
The 645E Max2-LRU also passed our GeForce4 Ti 4600 test, and it handled both the VisionTek and PNY models with ease. There are no capacitors next to the AGP slot and even full-length AGP cards slide right in below the DIMM sockets and IDE cables.