MSI K7T Pro
Socket A has arrived!
With the Athlon and Duron launches complete, the question of the moment for consumers interested in upgrading their Athlon processor and motherboard is "where are the Socket A motherboards?" Today we're here to announce that they've arrived.
The first Socket A motherboard we've received comes from MSI, this isn't surprising considering MSI was one of the first manufacturers with a Slot A product, the MS-6167. While we enjoyed the stability the 6167 offered, we missed the extras every hardcore hardware enthusiast requires out of their motherboard.
The follow-up to the 6167, the K7 Pro, was our favorite motherboard based on the 750 chipset. Offering a 6 PCI/1 ISA configuration and multiple bus speeds to choose from, we couldn't find anything wrong with the K7 Pro.
When MSI chose to skip the KX133 chipset, we scratched our heads in confusion. After all, why would you take a chance on the Athlon processor and the 750 chipset with the 6167 (at the time of the Athlon's launch, many motherboard manufacturers didn't release 750 motherboards out of fear of ruining their relationship with Intel), but not support 750's successor, VIA's KX133 chipset?
At the time we thought it was because the performance difference between 750 (with Super Bypass enabled) and KX133 was negligible. Our tests with the ASUS K7V revealed very little performance differences between both chipsets.
In any case, we now see that MSI clearly made the right decision. Just think of all the research, manufacturing, and marketing dollars MSI has saved by skipping the KX133 chipset. It's pretty easy to see why many motherboard manufacturers were so upset with AMD when they initially announced that Slot A Thunderbirds wouldn't hit the retail channel!
The KT133 chipset offers the same features present on KX133: AGP 4X, 133MHz memory bus support (the front side bus operates at 200MHz), and ATA-66. Later this summer VIA will update the VT82C686A South Bridge with ATA-100 compliance. MSI will most likely upgrade the K7T Pro to this South Bridge as soon as possible.