MSI KT4A Ultra

This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

Layout

The layout of the MSI KT4A Ultra motherboard is again, fairly decent and in accordance with their KT3 line of motherboards. The processor socket has about the same amount of room around it as the Abit motherboard we looked at. However, MSI did remove the 4 mounting holes for advanced heatsinks. The ATX power connector is between the external power connectors and the socket, which allows it to be out of the way of nearly all the other components of the motherboard. The heatsink that covers the KT400A north bridge will do its job fine. The three DIMM slots are placed a bit too low, and again we see that the AGP port interferes with them.

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The primary IDE ports and floppy port are placed to the right on the upper half of the board, and this may cause problems for some cases as the ports will be behind the 3.5” drive bays. MSI did include RAID on their board, but only in the form of IDE/SATA. That means that you will have the option of using the extra IDE port and one of the SATA ports if you want to use IDE RAID at all. This is a function of the Promise 20376 controller. If you want to use two standard IDE ports, you will have to get a SATA to ATA converter, which may be included in the retail box, depending on the version you buy.

Like I just mentioned above, the MSI motherboard has the same problem as the Abit board does on its placement of the AGP port. If you have an AGP card installed, removing and installing memory isn’t possible (or not recommended at least). This time, however, MSI did this in order to include a 6th PCI slot on the motherboard.

Features

Besides the SATA and RAID features that we mentioned above, the MSI KT4A Ultra motherboard includes USB 2.0 support and Firewire headers on the motherboard. There is a CMedia 6-channel audio chipset as well. There are four USB ports built onto the motherboard itself.

Included Extras

To take advantage of the Firewire and additional USB on the motherboard, MSI includes the necessary headers for this. They also give you two SATA cables and rounded IDE cables. This is pretty good grab bag for users.

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Bios

The MSI bios has a good selections of memory timings including all the standards: CAS, Interleave, RAS-CAS, etc. The image below shows you them all.

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This next screen shows the maximum that each setting will allow you to set. Yes, that is a FSB setting of 280 MHz! Though, with this chipset it won’t really matter; more on that later.

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