MSI KT4 Ultra Motherboard Review

The MSI KT4 Ultra Motherboard Review - Page 6


The MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR Motherboard Review
VIA's KT400 Chipset Matched With MSI's Best

By, Jeff Bouton
October 27, 2002

Benchmarks and Comparisons Continued
Business Winstone 2002

Business Winstone 2002:

Business Winstone 2002 is the latest edition of the popular application benchmarking program.  Its focus is to benchmark a PC's overall performance when running applications that are commonly found an everyday workstation environment.  Some of the programs it runs to determine a Business WInstone 2002 rating are:

  • Lotus Notes® R5

  • Microsoft® FrontPage® 2002 SP-1

  • Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2002 SP-1

  • Microsoft® Excel 2002 SP-1

  • Microsoft® Access 2002 SP-1

  • Microsoft® Word 2002 SP-1

  • Microsoft® Project 2000

  • WinZip® 8.0

  • Norton AntiVirusTM from Symantec

  • Netscape® 6.2.1

Some of you may be looking at these scores and think that they are pretty low.  Actually, they are not, this is the first time that we've tested with the newly release Business Winstone 2002 and the scoring is much lower than the previous version.  As with virtually all of the tests, the MSI system maintained an edge over the comparison system.  This time around the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR held a firm lead over the KX7-333R by over a point at 333MHz.  Once we bumped the memory speed up to 400MHz. we saw an nice increase of 8.2 points.  This increase equates to over 30%, Clearly Business Winstone was the only application that took advantage of the increase in bus speed, taking advantage of all the KT400 had to offer.

As we bring this review to a close, we are left with mixed feelings about the KT400 chipset.  While the advancements in the KT400 Vs the KT333 are insignifigant, the difference in performance between the two are still very minor.  In all fairness to VIA, we did not have a AGP 8X video card to test with so we can't totally knock the KT400's performance because that is one area of the chipset that we could not test at this time.  Nonetheless, as the rest of the review showed, there is little performance to be gained with the KT400.  This doesn't mean it's a poor product, but if you are running a KT266A or KT333 motherboard and USB 2.0 isn't important to you, then there is no real reason to upgrade.  But this is only half of the story.

As far as KT400 based motherboards go, the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR is an excellent product.  With so many new features incorporated into one system, this motherboard is as complete as motherboards get.  With Serial ATA RAID, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, Bluetooth, and 6.1 channel audio all integrated into a single product, the KT4 Ultra is arguably one of the more potent Athlon motherboards available.  We were a little disappointed by the features of the Promise RAID controller in regard to its dual support for Serial ATA and IDE, as well as the placement of the DIMM slots, but the rest of the system truly impressed us..  

When we went looking for prices of the KT4 Ultra, we really began to see the value of the KT4 Ultra.  We stopped by, and found the KT4 Ultra selling for $160.  When you consider that there is no need to purchase a separate sound card or NIC, as well as factoring in the sum of all its other features, the KT4 Ultra is a solid value at that price.  If a new Athlon based system is in your future, choosing the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR would be a very wise decision.

In the end, we give theMSI KT4 Ultra-FISR a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of a 9...


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