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DDR400 for Athlon: A Comparison of 9 Motherboards

MSI KT4 Ultra

Board revision: 1.0

BIOS version:

MSI makes a strong showing, too, with a very generously equipped KT4 Ultra. This includes the following: a Gigabit Ethernet controller from Broadcom; a sound system based on the PCI chip CMI-8738 from C-Media; a Bluetooth interface; an IEEE1394/ FireWire controller from VIA; and Promise's current Serial ATA controller.

MSI uses Promise's current Serial ATA controller. The PDC20376 can address up to four devices, two of which are designed for Serial ATA (to the left and right of the chip), and the other two that are realized through a conventional IDE channel.

Four USB ports are available, more with the included adapters. On the far right of the picture you can still make out the network controller from Broadcom.

MSI is the only manufacturer to offer a Bluetooth interface for wireless peripherals (e.g., printer or cell phone). The Bluetooth device is integrated in a USB adapter cable and shares one USB port. Removing the sticker on the second USB port on the adapter module (see picture) and hooking up a USB device will render Bluetooth inoperative.

Though MSI provides fewer cables than Soyo or Gigabyte, it covers the entire spectrum. Two Serial ATA cables are included that are just as short as the competition's. You also get an 80-pin IDE cable and a floppy cable.

Also shown in the picture is an adapter cable for using up to three FireWire ports.

A whole flood of manuals awaits the buyer. (This is a good move - whoever said that there could be too much information, anyhow?) In the upper left-hand corner of the picture are the instructions for the Bluetooth interface, which MSI calls "PC-2-PC." Next to it is the CD with the DVD playback software. In the lower left-hand corner, you see brief installation instructions that will help experienced users to get things up and running quickly. In the middle at the bottom is the actual manual, followed by brief instructions on Serial ATA.

The box is shiny und comparatively flashy. The name is short and catchy.