What is the 6309?
I've never heard of the 6309
Upon quick inspection of the MSI website, you may miss the 6309. You see, when designing their website, MSI placed the 6309 with the rest of their Socket 370 Celeron motherboards. While the 6309 is based on the Socket 370 interface, the socket itself is also fully compatible with FC-PGA Coppermines like the wildly popular 500E/550E. We're not sure if the web team at MSI realizes it or not, but the 6309 is fully compliant with these FC-PGA Pentium III processors.
With that oversight aside, we've got to admit that we were a bit surprised when we learned that the 6309 existed, much less was available for review. We try to keep up with all the latest product announcements but never received word of the 6309's release. While MSI (like most motherboard manufacturers) is proud to announce their 820 motherboards, we're a little surprised to see such little mentioned of what we feel is an equally compelling product.
History repeats itself?
If you recall our 6167 review
MSI didn't even have a product information page on their website at the time of the review. Only now can you browse their website for information on the 6167 and their newer K7 Pro motherboards, which, by the way, are conveniently placed on the bottom of their motherboard products page.
This became common practice last year, with many motherboard manufacturers providing little or no official information about their motherboards based on AMD's chipset. This problem wasn't nearly as widespread for motherboards based on the VIA Apollo Pro133 chipset; despite the fact that Intel is currently suing VIA for patent infringement.
After all, everyone knows Intel's staple product is microprocessors. When AMD challenges and in some cases beats Intel's flagship Pentium III processor it's easy to realize that Intel isn't happy with the situation Athlon has left them in. Forced to introduce newer CPU's faster than in the past and at lower prices, Intel has been slowly losing desktop market share to AMD.
With motherboards like the 6309 based on the 694X chipset, Intel's feeling the pressure in the chipset market as well.
If our 6309 backs up its paper specifications with solid performance, we'll have a worthy competitor to the 820 chipset, and an efficient upgrade solution for the countless gamers currently using BX motherboards.