KT3 Ultra-ARU has the potential to be a real killer board. With all the
extras you'd expect from MSI, such as onboard RAID, onboard sound and onboard USB
2.0, there isn't much else you would need! The board retails for about
$145USD, which is pretty good value all things considered.
|The USB and Audio headers are all located at the base of the board so
wires will be localizd and can remain out of the way. This is also where a
Bluetooth adaptor can be connected to the motherboard.|
Below is what would seem to be MSI's version of
The VIA KT333 chipset is a little bit less defined as a true upgrade
as it seems that it may be more of a marketing ploy than a real
advancement. This is not to say, that the chipset performs poorly, that
couldn't be further from the truth, but with the "333" in its name you would expect
performance to be substantially above that of the KT266A.
As you can see in our benchmarks, be it SysMark, Content Creation or
3DMark2001 SE there really isn't much difference between the older KT266A
chipset and the KT333 - heck even SiSoft Sandra 2002 Pro couldn't tell the
difference between the two.
The onboard audio is a little
disappointing since it uses the AC'97 codec to achieve 5.1 sound. USB 2.0
is a great idea and hopefully more motherboard manufacturers will hop on the bandwagon as MSI has
done to increase the adoption of this new standard.
Stability was not a problem with the KT3 Ultra and we did not encounter one single BSOD during testing
unless it was due to user error. Like other boards in its class, MSI has given
the enthusiast in us all a chance to take full control of the system with its
memory tweaks and full set of overclocking tools.
If you're contemplating buying a new motherboard for DDR333
compatibility you may want to hold off for just a bit further, or possibly till
the KT400 chipset is released. If on the other hand you are simply in
the market for a really good performing board with a ton of features,
which is on par with KT266A boards, than the MSI KT3 Ultra will
satisfy your needs.
DDR333 still seems to be too much of a catch phrase, and
not enough of a performance increase to warrant buying motherboards strictly for
it. Personally, I was kind of hoping that the rumors of the KT333 being scraped
were true and the KT400 (aka KT333A) would be released early, however that was
not to be the case. Of all the aspects we have touched upon, the most
interesting would have to be the silk screened markings for what seem to be
future AMD FSB settings. Does the KT400 support a 166 MHz CPU FSB? We'll have to
wait and see...