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MSI K7T266-Pro2 RU Motherboard Review
MSI K7T266-Pro2 RU Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
MSI's latest entry is the new K7TPro266-RU, with on board IDE RAID and USB 2.0. The K7T266Pro2 is based on the new VIA KT266A chipset.
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Nov 01 2001   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > MSI K7T266-Pro2 RU

MSI K7T266-Pro2 RU Motherboard Review

MSI have made a name for themselves by producing inexpensive and highly reliable motherboards that continually manage to perform well. Their latest entry is the new K7TPro266-RU, with on board IDE RAID and USB 2.0. The K7T266Pro2 is based on the new VIA KT266A chipset which meant that I was actually quite excited to see what this bright red motherboard could do!

Would it totally sweep me off my feet and carry me into a glorious world of high overclockability where DDR is the only way to go?

MSI K7T266 Pro2 Motherboard
Ships with the following:
  • IDE ATA100 Cable
  • USB2 bracket
  • USB PC to PC bracket/cable
  • Driver CD-ROM
  • Instructions, Raid O booklet
  • D-Led instructions

When VIA first announced their DDR chipset the KT266, the whole hardware community was gearing up for quite an intense battle among the chipset makers. However after months of delay, VIA essentially allowed its competition to gain a foothold in the marketplace first.

When the KT266 chipset was eventually released, it was met with quite a bit of disappointment. It was among the slowest chipsets around and it had one glaring problem - when the bus speed exceeded 138 MHz, USB devices stopped working. With the announcement of nVidia's nForce chipset, the mighty VIA looked like it was in quite a bit of troubleā€¦

Fast forwarding about 9 months; nForce motherboards are nowhere to be seen and we now have the KT266A chipset, a new and improved version of the older KT266. It's essentially the same chip design as the KT266, but with a much improved memory controller. As you are about to see, this seems to do wonders for performance!

The NEC chip is what gives this particular version of the K7T266Pro2 its USB 2.0 functionality. This is an optional feature and one we were very glad to see MSI had included on the board. The IDE RAID connectors are placed low on the board.
Okay, back to the board... there is plenty of space around the CPU socket to install larger heatsinks like the Swiftech MC462A and the Alpha PAL8045. MSI also had the foresight to stick down two clear pieces of plastic beneath each of the 2 center socket clips (where you attach heatsinks). The plastic is there to protect the motherboards trace lines from being damaged when a heatsink is installed.

Of course, one of the greatest features of the K7T266Pro2 is the support for USB 2.0. Sure there aren't many USB 2.0 devices out yet, but it's nice to know that it's there for future use. There are a total of 6 USB 1.1 ports in case you were wondering.

Like almost every MSI motherboards that are coming out these days, the K7T266Pro2 comes standard with D-Led, the on board diagnostic LED system. The indicators are located right next to the audio and multimedia ports and as well, on the PC-to-PC USB bracket so they can be viewed from the outside of the case.

Of course, this board isn't perfect, there are a few things I would have liked to have seen done like removing the AMR and dropping in an extra PCI slot. On board IDE RAID is fast becoming a de facto standard on boards worth getting, and the K7T266Pro2 follows suite.
However, while setting up this board for testing I found the placement of the IDE connectors a bit lower on the PCB than I would have liked. In situations where a tall case is used, it might prove difficult to reach the connectors with the cables.

Oddly, the northbridge has its passive heatsink attached with just thermal tape/glue. This is never really the ideal situation and definitely not the best for a chipset which does quite warm during testing.

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Contents of Article: MSI K7T266-Pro2 RU
 Pg 1.  — MSI K7T266-Pro2 RU Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  K7T266Pro2 BIOS Features
 Pg 3.  Overclocking and Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  Business / Content Creation Winstone & 3DMark
 Pg 5.  QIII Benchmarks and Conclusions

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