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VIA KT333 Put To The Test: 18 Motherboards Compared

MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU: Strong On Features, Weak On Performance

The MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU.

Retail package of the MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU.

The MSI is the first one to catch your eye in terms of features: the package includes three slot brackets with interfaces for USB 2.0, six-channel sound with digital-out and a Doctor LED display. A total of eight USB ports are available. With a Promise RAID controller (PDC 20276), eight IDE devices can be used. The Northbridge cooler is exemplary in that it uses a fan to help keep temperatures down. The "Life Bios" function is quite interesting - updates are automatically made via Internet. Overclocking pals have to manually modify the motherboard, since the CPU core voltage is factory-set to 1.85 Volt. By comparison, the clock multiplier can be adjusted as desired, provided that the AMD Athlon has been unlocked. Less impressive is the fact that memory and AGP voltages can be modified. A few words about performance results: even when used with fast DDR333 modules (CL2), the board only reached the level of our reference board with the KT266A chipset. Nevertheless, with a price tag of $107 (minimum features), it is one of the least expensive offerings in this comparison.

Items included with the MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU.

USB 2.0, thanks to the NEC controller of the MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU.

Unnecessary: the CNR-slot of the MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU.