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MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR Bluetooth Motherboard Review

MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR Bluetooth Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: KT3 Ultra2-BR has all the goodies we've come to expect - onboard USB 2.0, 5.1 audio, five PCI slots, three DIMM's and now even Bluetooth!
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Sep 04 2002   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR

MSI Wireless Bluetooth Options

Bluetooth is new technology we have been hearing about for a long time now, but what is it really?

Is it a big blue tooth from your dentist? Well....No. What Bluetooth really represents is a "wireless personal connectivity standard" and what Bluetooth does is enable short-range wireless connections between computers or mobile devices which support it.

"Bluetooth" is actually the name of the standard, which is controlled by Bluetooth SIG , a consortium of companies including; 3Com, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, Agere, IBM, Intel, Motorola and Toshiba. Bluetooth is not the little blue antenna pictured on the red PCB of the MSI dongle to the left.

Investigating further we find out the actual chip is a BlueCore2, made by Cambridge Silicon Radio ( www.csr.com). It is a 0.18 micron BGA chip with integrated baseband DSP, radio, and on chip RISC microcontroller.

Bluetooth data transfer rates hover around 723Kbps (Kilobits ) over a max +18dBm 2.4GHz wireless signal. The 2.4GHz ISM band is the same one used by many cellphones, and 802.11b wireless LAN, but the two are not interoperable. The MSI adaptors have a listed range of about 200 meters in an open, unobstructed area. Once you start putting things like walls, people, and computers in the way of the transceivers that distance can be halved quite easily.

"Unlike many other wireless standards, the Bluetooth wireless specification includes both link layer and application layer definitions for product developers which supports data, voice and content-centric applications. Radios that comply with the Bluetooth wireless specification operate in the unlicensed, 2.4 GHz radio spectrum ensuring communication compatibility worldwide. These radios use a spread spectrum, frequency hopping, full-duplex signal at up to 1600 hops/sec. The signal hops among 79 frequencies at 1 MHz intervals to give a high degree of interference immunity. Up to seven simultaneous connections can established and maintained."

From the long list of added goodies on the back of the KT3 Ultra2's box (Liveupdate 2, FuzzyLogic 4, S-Bracket, D-Bracket 2, and now PC2PC Bluetooth) we can see that MSI work hard to try and differentiate their motherboards from the rest of the competition. As of this review, they are one of only a handful of mainboard manufacturers to offer a Bluetooth enabled motherboard. In fact the only other company to come to mind right now is Epox.

Services supported: Dial-up Networking, Fax, File Transfer, Information Exchange, Information Synchronization, Network access, and Bluetooth Serial Port.

Bluetooth is very much like the now ancient laplink where we had a "client" and "server." With a wireless connection instead of a wired one, the client sends out a request to the server asking for a connection. The server, which can be a remote computer, mobile device or even a printer must accept that request before a connection can be established. Most Bluetooth devices can operate as both client and server, and the software needed to setup that connection runs in the background.

The dongle and transceiving module MSI offer are Bluetooth connection spec v1.1 compatible and support piconet point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and shortly, scatternet. The dongle has a small internal antenna, and the transceiving module uses an external Dipole antenna on short 24" extension SMA cable.

Once again, with its maximum transfer speed sitting at 732 Kbps, Bluetooth is not really intended for LAN gaming or internet sharing home networks. It's good for sending things to a Bluetooth compatible printer or transferring small files between computers.

Antenna Bluetooth Transceiver

To test out MSI's PC2PC Bluetooth setup, I connected the test KT3 Ultra 2 system wirelessly to my main rig (not hard to do). A 1 MB dummy file was transferred between the two computers and this took approximately 15 seconds to complete, the dongle flashing with blue and red LED's the whole time.

Bluetooth is not the fastest wireless option out there, but it's also important to realize that it isn't trying to bel. Other, more expensive wireless LAN technologies like 802.11b, 802.11a, or even 802.11g are being implemented to card upto 54MB/s of data through the airwaves.

Bluetooth is a very simple, and fairly robust wireless system which is easily implementable, and ideally suited for small data transfers between computers, mobile devices or peripherals like printers. Much like USB2.0, there aren't that many peripherals out right now that support the standard, but cellphones are quickly adopting it so it is something to look forward to, or in this case start using.

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Contents of Article: MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR
 Pg 1.  MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR Bluetooth Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  More Goodies and Overclocking
 Pg 3.  — MSI Wireless Bluetooth Options
 Pg 4.  The KT3 Ultra2-BR BIOS
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Sysmark2002, Winstone
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Winbench, Sandra
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark 2002, 3DMark 2001SE
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena & Conclusions

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