Whilst the Pentium4 motherboard arena has been busy of late with a number of new chipsets for the ever changing processor, the same cannot be truthfully said for motherboards that provide the base for AMD's processors. The Athlon XP, and now the Thoroughbred, have been on a 133FSB for some time now. Therefore, revisions in motherboards are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
VIA's chipsets are a case in point. The well-received KT266A has been subject to a few superficial changes in its transformation to the present KT333 chipset. A minor update to the South Bridge here, a minor update to the North Bridge there, and we have a chipset with a different name.
This is no bad thing, however, as the KT266A (and now the KT333) has proven to be a performance leader with excellent reliability. It's small wonder that every motherboard manufacturer wants at least one model in their range bearing the VIA insignia.
MSI (Micro-Star International), being no strangers to either Intel or AMD platforms, invariably have a number of motherboards for each. The somewhat surprising aspect is that MSI already have a fully-featured KT333 based motherboard in their product catalogue, the KT3 Ultra.
The reasoning behind this new motherboard lies in a couple of extra features. Firstly, VIA have updated their South Bridge from the VT8233A found on the KT3 Ultra to the VT8235 found on this particular motherboard. I'll discuss the differences a little later. The other major difference, one that MSI seem keen to push on their premier motherboards is the inclusion of Bluetooth wireless connectivity by means of a transceiver and key. More on this later, too.
So what we're looking at today is MSI's latest, top-of-the-line AMD-based motherboard. Let's continue and see if it makes the same impression that other MSI 'boards have done in the past.
Let's by looking at the specification in a little greater detail