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MSI K7-Pro Motherboard Review

MSI K7-Pro Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The K7-pro represents MSI's second attempt at the AMD Athlon motherboard market. Did they get it right this time, or fumble trying?
 81% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Jun 02 2000   Bao Ly  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI K7-Pro

Overclocking

The FSB and core voltage tweaking is available in the Hardware Monitor setup section within the BIOS. There are five tweakable items, "Spread Spectrum," which should be disabled when overclocking, as well as "Stop Un-used PCI Clock," which should be left enabled.

Next you can adjust "CPU Frequency Selection," which can be set from 90Mhz, 95Mhz, 100-125Mhz, 133Mhz, 140Mhz, and finally 150Mhz. In a day and age where a 200mhz FSB selection is available (on Abit SoftMenu III motherboards,) 150Mhz might seem like it's too conservative. However past experiences tells me that anything above 115Mhz FSB (230Mhz) is highly unlikely anyway. There seems to be a huge instability problem with all AMD Athlon motherboards with FSB's above 115Mhz.

The next item is "CPU Voltage Selection," which you can adjust from 1.4, 1.45, 1.55, 1.6, 1.65, 1.7, 1.75 volts. The upper limit of 1.75V seems to be too conservative. Perhaps 1.8 and 1.85V would be a better upper limit. Most GFD devices go at least that far.

The last item is "Chassis Intrusion" which keeps track of the number of times your case is opened, I highly recommend leaving this "feature" disabled. Below all of that, you can see your CPU and Case temperature readouts, as well as the speed readouts for the CPU, power fan, and system fan. Voltage readouts follow; Vcore voltage, Vsram, 3.3V, etc.

An AMD Athlon 550A (.18 micron) was used to test the overclocking prowess of the K7 Pro. Overclocking with this motherboard is quite simple; I pressed delete on boot up to enter the version 1.3 BIOS and under the Hardware Monitor Setup section, I adjusted the core voltage to 1.65V and raised the Frontside Bus frequency to 110Mhz (effectively 220Mhz, as the bus is a DDR bus.) This result is very important to note, in regards to overclocked stability, as our Asus K7V can not overclock this same CPU to the same level using FSB increases. The Asus K7V was only able to overclock to 107Mhz (214Mhz fsb.) Having the CPU overclocking feature placed within the same menu as the Hardware monitoring features is a good idea because you can see the CPU and system temperature readouts as you overclock. It makes more sense than to keep these functions separate.

Unfortunately, 110Mhz was the highest FSB frequency that I was able to attain, however, the K7 Pro was still able to beat the K7V in regards to overclocked stability. With just this info I can assume that the MSI would still be a better choice for stability, simply because with only FSB increases, the MSI K7 Pro was able to outshine the Asus K7V.

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Contents of Article: MSI K7-Pro
 Pg 1.  MSI K7-Pro Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Features of the board
 Pg 3.  Going D-LED
 Pg 4.  — Overclocking
 Pg 5.  Overclocking by FSB
 Pg 6.  Gold Finger Device fun
 Pg 7.  Conclusion

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