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MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR KT400 motherboard
By CPU-zilla
Category : Mainboard
Published by Jimmy Tang on Tuesday, 15th October, 2002
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

What We Like

The new KT4 Ultra-FISR is MSI's flagship model of the KT400 series. It's a highly integrated board with all of the features you'd ever dreamed of wanting. MSI did a fabulous job in squeezing all these into a rather tiny board measuring only 23cm in width. Most boards with this kind of feature set would have exceeded the width by another centimeter or so.

As with a lot of new motherboards released in this quarter, the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR will feature a Gigabit Ethernet solution which is based on Broadcom's 5702 one-chip controller. The Broadcom 5702 comes with both the MAC and PHY built into the same chip, thus lowering cost and making it extremely easy and friendly for manufacturers to integrate this chip onto the board.

The Broadcom BCM5702 Gigabit Ethernet one-chip solution.

The other prominent feature of the board would be Promise Technology's PDC20376 ATA133/SATA150 RAID controller. This controller has support for both storage technology - old and new. The controller has support for up to four devices, two of which is from the ATA133 port and another two from both of the SATA150 connectors. However, since the Promise FastTrak license for controller integrated on board is expensive, most manufacturers would go for the 'Lite' version instead. With the FastTrak Lite, users are only permitted to create RAID 0 and 1 arrays.

The Promise Technology PDC20376 controller offers you two Serial ATA ports and one ATA133 IDE port for up to four hard disk drives.

A pair of serial ATA cables are bundled with this board.

A rare but surely welcomed feature would be the integrated FireWire controller on the KT4 Ultra-FISR. Based on the VIA VT6306 IEEE-1394 controller, the chip can support up to three individual FireWire ports. MSI bundled a FireWire bracket that has up to three ports, two of which is based on the 6-pin connector and another one is a mini-DV plug for those who intend to connect their DV cameras. MSI's FireWire solution is much more attractive than the one provided by the ASUS A7V8X as MSI maximized the number of ports on the controller.

The VIA VT6306 FireWire controller supports up to three FireWire ports.

The FireWire bracket comes with two 6-pin connectors and a mini-DV plug. The bracket uses idiot-proof color coded connectors.

Other than that, the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR also comes with a hardware-based audio controller based on the C-Media CMI8738 six-channel audio chip. Delivering 5.1-channels of audio for HRTF-based 3D positional audio (C3DX™), the chip also supports a 24-bit input/output digital interface. Supporting Microsoft® DirectSound™ 3D, EAX™, Linux™ and BeOS™, the CMI8738 is a rather versatile hardware-based audio chip for multi-purpose usage. If you're not picky about audio, or a loyal Creative supporter, the C-Media 8738 audio solution would make it worth your while.

The familiar CMI878 six-channel audio chip used on the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR.

For overclockers, the board features an on-board chipset cooler with a rather standard sized fan and heatsink. The fan comes with a third cable which helps to measure the fan speed. Ideal for those who keeps track of the system's health.

The chipset cooler is rather small, but its fan is powerful enough to keep the north bridge running cool. The fan speed is monitored through the 3-wire cable.

The BIOS featured some pretty nifty overclocking settings including an option which is totally new. Here's a quick summary of what's available :-

  • System bus settings - 100MHz to 280MHz (1MHz step)
  • CPU core voltage settings - 1.725V to 1.850V (0.025V) - dependent on CPU installed
  • DDR voltage - 2.5V to 2.8V (0.1V step)
  • AGP voltage - 1.5V to 1.8V (0.1V step)
  • DDR termination voltage - Auto, 1.27V, 1.29V

    Besides overclocking, MSI also bundled three manuals with the board. In the box, you'll find a motherboard user's manual, a Serial ATA RAID manual and a Quick Installation Guide book. The installation guide book is a perfect addition to the board especially to newbies who will be embarking on a DIY project for the first time. Although not very detailed, it explains most of the basic stuff to the newbie in six different languages (English, Chinese - Simplified & Traditional, French, German and Japanese).

    Complete manuals are provided to help the newbie get started.
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