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MSI KT880

MS7047: Overview Of The Board

A first glance at the board reveals few new features. In our first test, the KT880 chipset with Southbridge VT8237 inside proved itself to be on a par with the nForce2 Ultra 400. All NVIDIA's chipset is missing is the serial ATA ports that many manufacturers retrofit using chips from Highpoint, Silicon Image and Promise.

Also, the user is only likely to take advantage of the board's key features. There is neither a second network controller nor a RAID chip. The VIA Southbridge in any case supports small arrays based on RAID 0 or 1.

On the plus side, it does have a usable three-phase voltage transformer and MSI's very own automatic overclocking system that goes by the name of CoreCell. The CoreCell replaces the clock generator in changing the clock setting during operation, automatically overclocking the system by a maximum 10%. The orange PCI slot can be used for MSI's combined WLAN/ Bluetooth expansion cards.

The Gigabit Ethernet VT6122 chip, which combines VIA's network controller with a Cicada transceiver, is also a positive aspect. The board has a very clear layout and, in view of the compact dimensions of ATX boards, does not really reveal any weaknesses except the position of the two UltraATA ports on the board's lower edge. We thought that doing without a Northbridge cooler also made sense.