The first utility that caught my
attention was 3D!Turbo. Similar to Powerstrip, 3D!Turbo
is a robust video card overclocking and tweaking utility. I found
the interface to be well laid out and user friendly, with
several useful features. Aside from being able to
easily overclock my GeForce 3, 3D!Turbo also offers the
option to have multiple desktops running on a machine at one
If you are like me, you often find yourself running four or
more programs at any given time. Using 3D!Turbo's
Desktop Switching feature, I found it much easier to keep my
desktop well organized by simply creating several virtual
ones. The information window offers some settings
that are otherwise unavailable in the default drivers
settings as well. It is no secret that I am not
a big fan of bonus applications, I've often found them to be
nothing more than "fluff" and many times simply useless.
However, after using 3D!Turbo, I have to say that this
utility was spared a trip to the Recycle Bin.
Another nice utility is
Fuzzy-Logic III. This little gem allows users to
monitor critical system information as well as giving them
the added ability to overclock their machine from within
Windows. If you are uncertain about what to change,
or are simply overwhelmed by all the
available in the BIOS, then you
may find Fuzzy-Logic III a friendly overclocking utility.
has an auto-overclocking feature that scans
the system for the optimal overclock settings and then
implements the changes. Novice overclockers should
find this to be a useful utility, it offers little to the seasoned
veterans out there. We did notice however that it did
not report certain information correctly, but it did not
appear to affect its functionality.
Now that we've discussed the
product specifications and some of the extras included with
the 694T Pro, let's take a closer look at the board
Quality & Setup of the
694T Pro Motherboard
The overall layout of the 694T
Pro was excellent, clearly the designers put a lot of
thought into the physical layout of this board. MSI
did a very nice job placing each component in such a way
that their position had no affect on adjacent items.
For example, we've
noted how a manufacturer left little room between the AGP & DIMM slots, requiring the removal of the AGP graphics
card while installing or changing the RAM. With the
694T Pro, MSI
not only managed to fit a total
of 8 slots on the motherboard, they did it without forcing
the AGP and DIMM slots up against each other. When it
comes time to upgrade the RAM on this board, it will be an
easy job with minimal fuss.
It was also nice to see the
power connector mounted in such a way that the power cables
will not drape over the CPU cooler, impeding the airflow.
Several large capacitors were mounted in close proximity to
the Socket 370 and DIMM slots, insuring clean current is
provided to these critical components. We found that
the capacitor placement was such that they did not interfere
with the installation of our oversized cpu cooler.
There was no difficulty installing a
Global Win FOP38 7000RPM
Cooler on the CPU and believe there would be no problem
installing an even larger cooling package if desired.
The labeling for the case
connectors were a bit unclear on this board and it's highly
recommend that the users guide not get misplaced.
There was a small chart imprinted on the board, but it is
possible that some users may misinterpret it. It was
also disappointing to see that the 694T Pro only came with 2
fan headers available. Lately it has become a common
(and welcomed) sight to see up to 4 fan headers on a
motherboard. With MSI's obvious encouragement of overclocking
the 694T Pro, it would have been nice to see the
consideration for easy integration of additional cooling
fans into the system.
Oh, and don't let me forget to
mention those nice little diagnostic LED's that were
included on the board. They are a little difficult to
see, but there they are nestled next to the on-board sound
connectors. Fortunately for us, we didn't have any
reason to use these lights, but if a problem arose, I'd
welcome any assistance they could provide to help
troubleshoot the problem
Let's move onto to the BIOS and
see what ties it all together...
The Stones, and a Touch of Overclocking