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MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU KT333 Motherboard Review

MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU KT333 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: MSI has always embraced new technology - often they are one of the first manufacturers to adopt, and the KT3 Ultra-ARU is no exception.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Mar 04 2002   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU

USB2.0 & Bluetooth

USB 2.0 is taken care of by a tiny NEC BGA chipset by the last PCI slot. Even though USB 2.0 has had a relatively slow and rocky start, peripherals are finally starting to pop up in the marketplace.

I would guess that by mid-summer there will be enough USB2.0 devices to make it a required device for any computer.

The USB2.0 riser makes mention of Bluetooth because this motherboard as support for it, or at least indirectly. Based on what we saw at COMDEX fall last year, I can only assume that this is for some type of Bluetooth riser card.

Connector "JBT2"is used to connect a Bluetooth module to the motherboard (I have yet to see one of these "modules anywhere). The reason for the sticker over the last USB2.0 port is that the connector shares the USB interface. This USB port will not function when the Bluetooth module is attached to the connector.

For the moment however, the four USB2.0 ports are more useful as backwards compatible USB1.1 ports. Among the other list of risers that come with the KT3 Ultra a standard two port UBS1.1 with Dr. LED diagnostics, and an audio "S-bracket" which allows users to hook up an optical SPDIF, or various other audio cables for 5.1 channel sound. The 5.1 audio solution comes from the Realtek AC'97 codec. If MSI had used the C-Media 8738 then the board would have been perfect in my opinion.

There were some interesting markings on the PCB where jumpers were silk screened, but not soldered in place. The jumpers seemed to allow for 166 MHz CPU FSB... I'm not sure what to make of this since the KT333 doesn't officially support a 166 MHz FSB, but perhaps MSI plans to use this PCB design or the VIA KT400 chipset (aka KT333A) in the near future.

Processor Socket

MSI has cleared the area around the CPU socket meaning that installation of larger heatsinks such as the Alpha PAL8045, Swiftech MCX462 or even Thermaltake's Volcano 7 should not be a problem. Like most Socket A motherboards the MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU has the 4 holes around the CPU socket. However unlike a lot of other boards, the ones on the MSI boards are grounded as you can see. Again, it's the little things that count!

VIA KT333 Chipset:

KT333 Northbridge VT8233A Southbridge

The KT333 chipset is nothing more then the the KT266A with support for a 166 MHz memory bus. The KT333 still doesn't support a 1/5 PCI or 1/3 AGP divider yet. The chipset can support up to 4 GB of PC1600/2100/PC2700 DDR RAM, but since the MSI KT3 Ultra only has 3 DIMM slots it is limited to just 3 GB of memory.

As for the VIA VT8233A southbridge, it's the original VT8233 with an upgraded IDE controller that now supports Ultra/133 drives. The southbridge still has 4 USB 1.1 ports integrated MC'97 modem codec, AC'97 audio codec and a integrated 10/100 3Com ethernet. One thing that hasn't gained a lot of momentum yet is the integrated ethernet. It's there, but I don't know why motherboard manufacturers don't bother to use it?

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Contents of Article: MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU
 Pg 1.  MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU KT333 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — USB2.0 & Bluetooth
 Pg 3.  KT3 Ultra BIOS
 Pg 4.  Office Benchmarks
 Pg 5.  Gaming Benchmarks
 Pg 6.  Conclusions

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