Changing Of The Guard: Four Athlon Motherboards For DDR400

Conclusion: No Advantages Compared To DDR333!

Considering the high expectations, based on previous experiences with DDR, the test results of the first KT400 boards are a disappointment. Even with the pre-production boards and BIOS version, we had expected that the performance would at least be on par with that of a KT333 motherboard - however, none of the three KT400 boards that we tested achieved the performance of a KT333!

This has to do with two factors: the first factor is that the manufacturers still seem to have trouble getting maximum performance with the new chipset - most likely due to the JEDEC specification for DDR400, which are still missing. This means that each manufacturer must test and validate as many memory types as possible, otherwise the differences and problems cannot be ruled out. The consequences are that conservative memory timings are the order of the day for now. The second factor is that the reliable timings are anything but fast - in light of the results, the advantages of high memory clock speeds are completely nullified by the slow timings.

One of the positive aspects, in any case, is that all of the boards run reliably and stably with auto-settings. Moreover, the latest generation of motherboards shine with a full set of features on a scale never seen before. Here, MSI put together the best package: in addition to USB 2.0, FireWire, gigabit-LAN and Serial ATA, the motherboard also provides a bluetooth module for wireless communication. The Asus board does not provide this option, but it allows for more flexible use of the ATA interfaces.

To make it clear: in our view, KT400 has not yet justified its own existence - even the abundant features of the first products are not enough to change this. It cannot be said that KT400 is flexible either, because at 400 MHz, only a single DIM module can be used.

In a few weeks, we'll bring you a more extensive comparison of all KT400 motherboards on the market, and show you whether the KT400 emerges as a successor to the throne, or a charlatan.