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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

KT3 Ultra BIOS

The MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU uses a new version of the Award BIOS. It looks like it has been upgraded, as things are sorted a little better. In typical MSI fashion, the BIOS caters towards everyone (normal and performance users) by sporting quite a few memory tweaks and overclocking options!

Since the KT3 Ultra-ARU uses the KT333 chipset you can run your RAM at 333 MHz, however if the memory can't handle the speed, you can still select 266 MHz or 200 MHz. There are the obvious CAS latency adjustments, RAS to CAS and I personally like being able to force 4-Way bank interleaving.

AGP tweaks are set to AGP frequency of 1x, 2x or 4x. By default the "AGP Comp. Driving" is set to "CB" however I know in the Abit KR7A and the Epox 8KHA+ it is set to "DA" so I tried that setting and my 3DMark score improve about 100 points.

I'm not completely sure how to tweak this setting, but it's possible that MSI used a more conservative setting for stability purposes. All benchmarks were conducted with this set to DA and we didn't experience any problems, just better 3D performance results.

The KT3 Ultra-ARU allows a overclocker to max out their CPU with the ability to tune the FSB from 100-220 MHz in 1 MHz increments. Of course, there are a full set of multiplier adjustments; VCore can be moved from 1.7-1.85V, and DDR voltage can be changed from 2.5-2.8V. This came in quite handy since our Corsair XMS PC2400 only does 166 MHz with a voltage of 2.8V. AGP voltage controls are nice especially when you're hitting those really high FSB's as it might stabilize a shaky videocard.

As for overclocking, for some reason, our Corsair XMS PC2400 maxed out at 168 MHz FSB (down from the 171 MHz it does in the 8KHA+ and KR7). To explore the limits of the board we used PC3000 DDR RAM. The board ran all the way up to 175 MHz, but anything higher and it would BSOD when loading Windows 2000.

Unfortunately while the PC3000 is fast, it needs to have a high FSB to achieve its best performance. At 175 MHz with relaxed memory timings the PC3000 just wasn't as fast as our Corsair XMS PC2400. Still it was nice to know the limits of our board since the PC3000 will do 200 MHz FSB on our ABit KR7.

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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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