Micro Star International's MS6167 Athlon Board - Page 1
MS-6167 AMD Based Motherboard
the playing field is begining to level out somewhat in the
Processor/Motherboard arena. The consumer is no longer limited to
one processor and chipset family that will provide top end
performance. For many years competitors to Intel tried to compete in
the "Value PC" market nipping at Intel's margins for what
was then thought to be the mainstream PC. The high end space was
always filled by product produced by the king of the technology
hill, Intel. Many of these competitors to Intel fell by the wayside,
surcoming to tough economic climates under the strains of being a
"me too" in a market lead by a giant. AMD (Advnaced Micro
Devices) stayed the course and has recently released a suite of
processor technology that competes extremely well against Intel's
core competency, the performance PC. There are only a few
motherboard manufacturers in the market, at this point in time, that
support AMD's newest speed demon, the K7. We took a look at Micro
Star International's MS-6167 and for the first time, drove an Athlon!
It was a fun ride too. Here's how it went....
for large image
looking motherboard, right? Wrong... In this shot, the heatsink on
"Irongate" or Northbridge chipset, has been removed do you
can see the chip itself (sorry about the lousy image quality on this
shot). This board is driven by AMD throughout and uses the
Ironbridge and Viper (Southbridge) chipsets to integrate many
functions. Here's the goods...
A for AMD Athlon 500, 550, 600, 650 MHZ. and higher
Irongate (Northbridge) - 200MHz. EV6 System Interface Speed
Viper (Southbrdige Chipset)
(200 MHz. internal bus)
DIMM Sockets supporting 3.3V PC100 SDRAM
Memory SIze 768MB
AGP 66/133MHz. , 5 PCI, 2 ISA
Board EIDE and Peripherals
Viper 756 Supports EIDE HDD/CDROM interface with Ultra DMA66
Floppy Port, 2 Serial, 1 Parallel, 2 USB, 1 IrDA Connector
Award Plug and
Play with DMI Function
ATX: 30.2cm X
20.9cm - 6 Layer Board
As you can
easily see, this isn't the same ol' BX Board! No offense Andy! :)
One aspect that really works for the Athlon mainboard architecture
is the 200MHz internal EV6 system bus. Although all interfaces to
external memory are at 100MHz., these extra clock cycles should only
mean more bandwidth within the processor itself.
The layout of this
board is excellent. It doesn't have a very small footprint but the
use of that extra space was very efficient. The ATX Power Connector
is located infront of the DIMM Sockets and off to the side enough to
keep the cables out of the way of your processor heat sink and fan
combo. Perhaps this was by design or perhaps by necessity since
there are four very large voltage regulators with heat sinks behind
the CPU Slot A. All in all, the MS-6167 is well built and easy to
By the way, just
in case you haven't seen what an AMD Athlon looks like....
And take a look
here at the HardOCP what is inside the guts of this puppy.
However, we weren't ready to rip our Athlon open just yet... :-)
Setup and Over-Clocking
noted the 6167 installs fairly easily as with most ATX boards.
Nothing unusual here. Setup was a little tricky for us under Win98.
This was not a problem induced by the 6167 but rather how the OS was
installed prior to transplanting our Athlon nerve center. A word to
the wise, be prepared to do a full clean Win98 install with any new
Athlon based system. We tried installing the 6167 and K7-600 we
tested, on a drive and system that had a BX board installed
previously. There were many conflicts and system lock-ups until we
performed the blessed "deltree Windows" command and
started fresh. Once we did that, all was well. I lost a few strands
of hair in the process and I need all that I have, thank you. :)
Also, Win98SE definitely has better support for the new AMD
motherboard chipset, at least from my experience.
- A fly in the oinment?
issue of note. In an effort to really make the 6167 and Athlon 600
sing together, we tried installing a hot new GeForce256 card (to be
reviewed soon!). There was definitely a compatibility issue here
with the AMD Chipset. Rumors are now also circulating aroung the net
that the GeForce has an issue with the new VIA PC133 chipset as
well. This wouldn't surprise me. Remember the last VIA chipset
compatibilty problem with the TNT/TNT2? NVidia released a new AGP
Mini-port driver patch and the issues cleared up like magic. Come on
NVidia, there is more to life than Intel these days. Let's get the
compatibility testing turned up a notch, OK?!! (end rant)
were able to get a few benchmarks completed on the MS-6167 with the
GeForce card but I am not satisfied with the stability so I am not
going to post them in this review. Again,
this was not an issue, in my opinion, with the MS-6167. We
installed our trusty Matrox Millenium G400 and all peacefully
co-existed. When you are building a system with recently released
motherboards, processors and video cards, you are living on the
bleeding edge. We expected a few minor cuts and bruises.
for the MS-6167 is pretty simple.... It has no overclocking
capabilities. You can however buy modified K7s that are 500s setup
up to run at higher clock speeds and run them on this board. Check
out our buds at Outside
for the scoop! (ooh just call me "Busta-Rhyme")
the risk of sounding a little "WWF-like"..... (click)
get ready to rumble!!!!!! - Benchmarks!
500s @ 700MHz! Get 'em while they're hot! At...