Company Brief

MSI K7 Master-S (MS-6341S) AMD 760 Motherboard Review

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MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD. (MSI) was founded on 4 August 1986. MSI specializes in the design and manufacturing of mainboards, interface cards, bare bone, and computer peripherals, as well as the import/export of the aforementioned items. MSI has branch offices in the US, Germany, France, China, Australia, and Holland.

Company organization

In MSI’s global sales network, Europe accounts for 45% of worldwide sales, the Americas for 22%, the Asian-Pacific region for 30%, and other regions for about 3%. In terms of service and maintenance, MSI has set up a customer service department, customer inquiry hotline, and Website. In addition, a service/maintenance network has been established abroad, providing foreign customers with 24-hour service.

With the exception of the recent release of AMD’s new 762-chipset, MSI’s K7 Master-S (MS6341), is possibly the most anticipated AMD 761-based mainboard to date. In fact, since its initial introduction/review more than six months ago, users from across the world have been clamoring to get their hands on the SCSI-based Master-S. With this excitement came controversy. It was unmistakable that early Master-S versions highlighted four DIMM slots. On the other hand, MSI’s own website featured the Master-S with two DIMM slots. Dozens of phone calls to MSI California, Miami, and New Jersey produced no definitive answers. Therefore, the insurgence began…

The Delay

According to our sources, MSI realized that the specifications for unbuffered RAM were three clock cycles per DIMM. Therefore, having four-DIMM slots would require the AMD-761 chipset to support twelve clock Cycles. In error, MSI presumably changed the specification on the Master-S to two DIMM slots. At the time, MSI thought AMD would not certify the boards with four DIMM slots.

What was overlooked was that the Master-S was engineered to support unbuffered and ECC-unbuffered memory in only two DIMM slots, while Registered and ECC-Registered DIMM’S were being supported in all four slots as the AMD 761-Chipset actually reserves six Clocks for RAM. Registered DIMM’s only use one clock cycle, therefore, using four Registered DIMM’s would only require four clock cycles, which is what the Master-S was initially designed. The problem was that they used incorrectly notched DIMM sockets on SOME of the pre-release boards, which caused MSI engineering to make this production change in the first place.

Because of this production change, AMD would not certify an incorrectly notched DIMM mainboard with 4-slots. Without this certification, AMD would not supply MSI production chipsets for the motherboards. Therefore, MSI corrected the problem by eliminating two of the four DIMM slots. Inevitably, this dilemma went on for months and is surely the reason for such a delay in its release.

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