MSI K7T266 Pro DDR
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MSI K7T266 Pro DDR Socket A Monster
Misguided? or Misunderstood?...
Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
June 14, 2001
With the influx of DDR memory
into the market place, came a craving for a high performing chipset to
exploit the increased bandwidth offered by this new memory type.
AMD was first to introduce
a DDR chipset for the Athlon. However, the chipset wasn't widely
available and was priced slightly higher than expected.
ALi then jumped into
the fray with their DDR enabled MaGiK1 chipset. The MaGiK1 was quickly
adopted by some major motherboard OEMs and has met with some success. Many
users however chose to wait for
VIA's DDR offering,
before spending their hard earned money on a new motherboard.
VIA announced their KT266 chipset and power users began chomping at the bit. In the last couple of years, VIA has been on a roll, releasing inexpensive, yet high performing chipsets. This time around, months went by without seeing any products based on the KT266 chipset. Rumors circulated that the KT266 was not stable, or was performing far lower than expected. Then MSI's K7T266 Pro was introduced but all was not well.
A few well respected sites quickly reviewed the MSI K7T266 Pro, but their findings were not consistent. Some sites resorted to soldering resistors to different locations in an effort to realize the full potential of the KT266 chipset, while others argued that a simple BIOS update was all that was needed for maximum performance. During this "storm" of information we got our hands on a retail MSI K7T266 Pro but we decided to wait until the dust settled and the BIOS and drivers matured before we passed judgment. We updated our K7T266 Pro to the recently released 1.20 BIOS, mounted our 1GHz AXIA T-Bird, installed the Via 4-in-1 4.32s and let her rip. Come see what we found out.
Audio / Video
VIA(R) VT8233 chipset. (376 BGA)
Promise 20265R On-Board (Optional)
USB Interface (Optional)
On-Board Peripherals include:
|As you can see
from the above specification list, this board is feature laden. Even
without looking at the specifications, you'd know the MSI K7T266 Pro is
something special the moment the box is opened.|
The "out of box" experience
with the K7T266 Pro is fantastic. Quite a few motherboards pass through
the H.H. labs, making it tough to get excited about many of the boards
we get our hands on, but not with the K7T266 Pro. This board ships with
a plethora of goodies. In our box we found two excellent user's manuals
outlining the features of both the board and the on-board Promise RAID
controller. We also found a floppy cable and two 80-Wire UDMA IDE
cables. That is where most companies would stop, but MSI also included a
set of external USB connectors, and another USB bracket and cable that
will allow you to connect one PC to another via the USB ports. All
necessary drivers for the chipset and on-board sound were included as
well as some thermal paste and a sweet chrome case badge emblazoned with
a "Geared by MSI" graphic.
Layout and Installation