Motherboard: MSI K7D MASTER :: Features

05-06-2002 · Category: Motherboards

By Niso Levitas

Board Revision1.0
BIOS Version04/13/2002 1.1
Default Clock Speed (MHz)1667
North BridgeAMD 762
South BridgeAMD 768
Number of PCI slots3 x 32 Bit 2 x 64 Bit
Memory typeDDR200/266
Number of memory slots4
Maximum Memory (GB)4
Universal AGP support *N/A
AGP Pro SupportYES
Number of Physical USB 1.1 ports **0
Number of Physical USB 2.0 ports **4
Active Cooling on ChipsetYES
Adjustable AGP VoltageN/A
Adjustable Memory voltageN/A
Southbridge UDMA 133 SupportN/A
IDE or RAID Controller other than SouthbridgeN/A
Auto speed-down/shutdown on fan failureN/A
Auto speed-down/shutdown on heat alarmN/A
On-board SoundAC97 VIA VT1611A
On-board LANN/A
* Voltage and Physical support for previous generation of AGP
** Not just pin headers onboard

Stability and Compatibility25|25
Package & Support10|10

The AMD 762 is the same Northbridge as the AMD MP Chipset. The difference between MP and the new MPX chipset is that the Northbridge to South Bridge connection has been expanded to a 64 bit bus running at 66 MHz for a total I/O bandwidth of 533 MB/s. There are two separate PCI channels running at different frequencies and different bus widths. Basically, they expanded the highway and added car pooling for vehicles carrying more data. Those 64 Bit slots are for broadband Ethernet and/or SCSI RAID devices for servers.

First let's discuss workstation or server system needs. For servers you would like to have a SCSI Interface, and a Gigabit or 2x100 network connections. This board doesn't have them on-board even though integrated solutions are cheaper than buying them one by one. This board has three 64 bit PCI slots and is inexpensive. This board is for you if you are looking for a Dual AMD setup that is cheap and effective.

You have to be very careful when you are choosing a board with 64 bit Slots. There are two types of 64 bit PCI slots. One is 5V, which you can plug standard 32 bit PCI card, the other one is 3.3 V, which is keyed to prevent plugging the wrong card. Before you buy your add on cards make sure you know which type of 64-bit slots your motherboard has.

For workstations, if it is just for 2D or 3D modeling, you don't need anything special other than stability. But if you need it for 3D animation, video editing, or photo editing, you need different things. If you consider using dual CPU, IDE RAID will give you the same performance benefit. It is cheaper to buy it on-board, but this board doesn't have IDE RAID.

This board has just 3 standard PCI slots, but the USB 2.0 card is consuming one PCI slot. You would definitely like to use USB 2.0 for workstation considering that this board has no USB 1.1 ports at all. If you like Firewire instead of USB, you have to use that slot too. For your network or internet needs, you will need an Ethernet card. This board doesn't have it on-board. Add a video capture or a better sound card for mixing video and sound, and you are out of slots. If they had included a network card and integrated USB 2.0 it would have saved two slots. This board doesn't have any USB port on it other than the card option. More slots or some more functions on-board are needed for workstation use.

On the box and in the manual, you will see "only registered DDR". We tried our very fast CL2 not-registered memory and it worked fine. But as the memory size increases, we always see inconsistencies on servers. So you have to use registered DDR if you consider using large amount of memory. This motherboard will hold up to 4 GB of memory using 4 slots.

This board includes standard stereo sound by AC97 VT1611A chip. If you need to just listen to CD or warning sounds when working, this is more than enough. There were three input sockets on the motherboard. CD/AUX and Phone in for some voice modems.

When I checked the manual BIOS settings I saw "CPU Shutdown Temperature" but it was not in the latest BIOS version 1.1 that we programmed the BIOS with. Servers and workstation are used mostly for time and mission critical applications and definitely could use some protection.

The Live BIOS update feature is very handy. For a DOS Flash BIOS update, you have to boot the system without TSR or settings to update the BIOS. But if your system is updating BIOS inside your OS, you don't need to know anything about it at all. MSI includes that kind of BIOS. They also included another interesting utility. It is like Windows XP's remote Desktop. You may install a harmless TSR to all of your servers and just run an executable from any of your desktops on your network and manage any of your servers. You actually see the screen of that server and control its mouse and keyboard. I tried it by connecting our test XP to network and managing it on my desktop. It feels weird. It is like picture in picture function on a TV.

The package was a complete one. Quality manual, software and drivers, backplane and MSI sticker was included in the package.

Package Contents

  • MSI K7D Master Motherboard
  • Driver CD
  • Server Utility CD
  • User's Manual
  • FDD cable
  • ATA 66/1003 cable
  • USB 2.0 Add-On Card
  • Backplane