Introducing the MSI MS-6167
MSI Makes An Athlon Motherboard?
We all know that AMD's Athlon processor is a definite contender to Intel's latest CPU's for the performance crown. A grayer issue is the Athlon infrastructure, particularly availability and support issues dealing with Athlon motherboards and chipsets. We've had the pleasure of using MSI's MS-6167 Athlon motherboard for some time now and we figured it was time to discuss it in-depth. If you've read the Athlon 700 review
, you're probably aware that the MS-6167 was the motherboard we used in our tests and it ran fine with our Athlon 650 and 700MHz processors.
Some of our readers may not be aware of MSI, as we haven't reviewed any of their products for several months. However, their BX-based MS-6163 Pro motherboard is considered a good product, with support for 16 different front side bus speeds and the ability to manipulate CPU and chipset voltage. For this reason, when our MS-6167 arrived in our office for testing we were eager to see what it had to offer.
However, before we discuss the performance of the MS-6167, (6167 for short) the current Athlon chipset solution must be discussed.
AMD's 750 Chipset
Power users looking for next-generation features such as AGP 4X and PC133 SDRAM support are currently out of luck on both AMD's Slot A and Intel's Slot 1 infrastructure, as chipsets that support both features are in the latter stages of sampling among motherboard manufacturers. Before a motherboard can tout such features, the motherboards' chipset must support them. All Athlon motherboards currently available ship with AMD's 750 chipset, which only officially supports PC100 SDRAM and the AGP 2X interface. Unlike Intel's 440BX chipset, the South Bridge of AMD's 750 chipset fully supports ATA-66 hard drives. In fact, we were impressed with the boot times of our Athlon testbed; our ATA-66 drive had us up and running in Windows 98 SE in no time!
VIA's upcoming KX133 chipset will address this issue, offering support for AGP 4X, PC133 SDRAM, and ATA-66, among a host of other new features and improvements. We've seen samples of motherboards based on this chipset, and can't wait until shipping products are available with it in the coming months.