Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra :: Introduction

10-31-2002 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock
MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR (MS-6590) Spec Sheet
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Part NumberKT4 Ultra-FISR (MS-6590)
ManufacturerMSI
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DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
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Chipset
North Bridge
Socket
Processor Types
Number of CPUs
Front Side Bus
Memory Type
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Maximum Memory
External Graphics
IGP
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Audio
IDE
SCSI
SATA
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Firewire
USB
Expansion Slots
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Form Factor
 

The race for the fastest chipset is on once again as VIA technologies releases there latest, the KT400 chipset. AMD has only been able to hold to market share due to the contributions of VIA and their R&D, which has enabled AMD to maintain a steady platform base that keeps ever evolving in a forward direction. When will AMD themselves have a new chipset to support their own CPU line?

The KT400 chipset brings new features to the table in the form of enhanced support for DDR333 SDRAM, ultra fast AGP 8X graphics, ATA-133, USB 2.0 and an 8X V-Link chip. There is also support for up to four GB of memory with the KT400 a one GB leap from its predecessor the KT333. So far there have been a number of bugs plaguing this chipset and a newer released version is supposedly right around the corner.

The KT4-Ultra board I received from MSI was a pre release sample board that displayed many of the characteristic flaws associated with this chipset that we will discuss in detail later in this review. VIA has made a trend out of releasing a chipset and then later down the line releasing a version A of the same chipset with a few of the bugs worked out.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

The new KT4-Ultra is an ATX form factor board that sizes in at 30.5cm X 23cm and has a modified rear I/O configuration. The board also comes with its own I/O shield that is interchangeable with many of the cases currently available on the market. Make sure before purchasing this motherboard that your case allows this otherwise the board will not fit properly.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

Being able to utilize the Socket 462 AMD Athlon/Duron series of CPU's up to the latest Athlon 2800+ makes the board a very flexible solution for the AMD platform. Featuring an adjustable 200/266/333 MHz FSB and voltage options are things that should help in a stable overclocking experience. The board has an AWARD BIOS that should be recognized by most enthusiasts.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

There are six PCI slots for your peripheral expansion although with all the features built on-board the KT4-Ultra you really probably will not need to utilize them all. There is also an available pin header for the Bluetooth connect connection.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

For your memory support the KT4-Ultra has three DIMM slots that can utilize up to 3GBs of DDR200/266/333 SDRAM and MSI claims the board also supports the latest DDR400 but I was not successful in getting it to run even though officially they claim it works. The memory slots cannot be accessed once the AGP card has been installed which is a common problem.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

When it comes to drive support the KT4-Ultra has the mother load of feature options. These features include your standard variety. An IDE controller on the VT8235 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes. There is also Serial ATA support via the Promise 20376 which controls 2 Serial ATA ports in 150 MB/s operation mode and 1 Ultra DMA port.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra
Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

Video support comes in the form of an 8X capable AGP port that can use the latest ATI and Nvidia solutions that are currently available on the market. 8X AGP has not yet shown any great performance increases even though the available bandwidth has doubled from its predecessor. Even with hardware advances if the code is not there to support 8X in your software it becomes a mute point.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

Sound is provided by the C-Media 8738MX chip that supports 6-channel audio and SPDIF out. The KT4-Ultra comes with a cable bracket that attaches to a connector on the motherboard providing the SPDIF and six channel connectors that enable the user to take full advantage of their sound system. The C-Media chipset does an excellent job of providing clear accurate sound and eliminates the need for an add-in card.

The motherboard has support for up to six USB 2.0 controllers. Four are located on the rear I/O and the others connect via two addition brackets that connect to headers on the board itself. One of these brackets also includes MSI's patented D-Bracket 2, which is a system functionality set of LED's that is like a warning light if something is amiss with your board.


Motherboard: MSI KT 4 Ultra

That about sums up what is under the hood of the KT4-Ultra from MSI and the board sports many features that should appeal to the consumer. Lets us now take a look at the setup and performance of this new board and see how it stacks up against the competition. Read on and get all the details about this latest board to hit the shores for the AMD platform.