MSI K7T Pro KT133 Motherboard Review
Good and Bad
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.
The physical design of the motherboard is fairly reasonable and common. You’ll first recognize a difference by the way the North Bridge chipset is turned 45 degrees, so that the corner is pointing down towards the AGP slot. This probably doesn’t have a damn thing to do with performance, but I cannot be truly sure of that. It does however give the board a bit of ‘spice’ that other motherboards may lack.
Next up we see the large capacitors that border the Socket on the motherboard. These babies come in at 3900uF and allow the MSI board to maintain the high level of stability that they are beginning to become known for. Seven of them line around the Socket, so you may want to be careful when choosing a heatsink/fan combination that will work this motherboard. The one used in the test bed here at Athlonmb.com, for instance, was a standard sized CoolerMaster from MCS, but the clip that held the fan in place was difficult to get off with the capacitors hinder the movement of your fingers.
One bonus that MSI has included on their K7T Pro motherboard is the removal of the ISA slot and the addition of the sixth PCI slot. This gives the motherboard a 6/0/1/1 configuration (PCI/ISA/AGP/AMR). The replacement of the ISA slot with the sixth PCI may affect some users. Those of you with ISA modems or sound cards are going to have to bite the bullet soon and get those peripherals in PCI format. More and more motherboard manufacturers are moving away from that Legacy technology, and its better for the market to go that way, in this reviewer’s opinion.
As with all MSI motherboards, there is a D-LED system attached the motherboard, just between the AC’97 Audio connectors and the serial ports. This system allows for a moderate amount of interpretation by the end user for troubleshooting a motherboard problem. For instance, the 4 LED lights might arrange in a configuration to tell the user by referencing the manual) that the problem with the boot process is with the memory, and then the user can go from there by testing to see if the memory is in the wrong slot, or not seated correctly, etc.
As with all KX133/KT133 chipset based motherboards, the MSI K7T Pro has North Bridge support for AGP 4x and PC133 memory. The South Bridge allows the motherboards manufacturers to uses 6 PCI slots (which MSI opted to do) and gives them various hardware monitoring capabilities. UDMA 66 is supported as well. On an interesting note, the PR rep that sent me this motherboard wanted to make sure that I pointed out that MSI is starting to bundle the MS-6915 Ultra ATA/100 controller with all their K7T Pro motherboards, to combat the 686B South Bridge Socket A motherboards that have ATA/100 by default. Keep in mind, however, that installing the ATA/100 card will take away one of your PCI slots, right off the bat.
What does this motherboard offer to overclockers, or performance gurus? Well, a decent amount compared to what can be expected. The K7T Pro allows for a moderate amount of FSB modification in both the BIOS, and in the new Windows based application FuzzyLogic. FuzzyLogic allows the user to do the same edits to the system, as you would be able to do in the BIOS when it comes to FSB selection and voltage selection. The FSB speeds of 100 / 101 / 102 / 103 / 105 / 107 / 109 / 110 / 111 / 113 / 115 / 117 / 120 are all available as are voltages ranging from 1.700 to 1.850v in 0.025v increments. Keep in mind that that amount of voltage regulation might not be enough for those wanting to push their front-side bus above 110 MHz.
There are few things that must be said about this motherboard, or any motherboard similar to it. There are better options out there, such as the Asus A7V and Abit KT7, both of which offer the multiplier adjustments that are very often sought after with Socket A motherboards. However, with the recent announcements and moves made by AMD, many of those boards will lost their overclocking advantage, and will again be put on equal grounds with all other previously released motherboard, including the MSI K7T Pro.