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MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR
Traditionally the memory market has moved at a snail’s pace when it comes to innovation, especially in comparison to graphics cards and CPUs. However, things kicked up a bit in 1999 when VIA Technologies and memory manufacturers joined forces to launch and market PC133 SDRAM devices.
For the first time the memory market made a move without Intel’s blessing, and to some industry observers’ surprise, they flourished. While Intel was busy promoting Pentium III systems with Rambus (via the 820 chipset) VIA’s Pentium III solutions performed faster and thanks to the low cost of PC133 memory, cheaper. As a result, VIA gained roughly half of the chipset market according to some estimates and memory manufacturers were more than happy to kick up the pace of new technology releases, even independent of Intel technology to support it.
Why are memory manufacturers aggressively releasing new products all of a sudden? The reasoning is simple: the higher performing parts come with higher profit margins, so if they can be produced at sufficient yields, they can be a highly effective method of improving a company’s bottom line.
As a result, we’ve seen new memory technologies explode on the scene. While PC1600 and PC2100 modules were state-of-the-art two years ago, today PC2700, PC3200 and just recently, PC3500 modules have hit the market. In fact, a specification hasn’t even been established for the latter two technologies, memory manufacturers are in such a rush to get their products on the market that they’ve moved ahead of JEDEC.
This isn’t too surprising considering the way memory prices have dropped over the past few years, but what’s equally startling is the rate at which new chipsets supporting these memory technologies have also been released. The KT400 chipset the MSI KT4 Ultra-FISRis based on is VIA’s second DDR chipset release this year for the desktop enthusiast segment!
MSI: A motherboard for every market
This brings us to MSI. As one of the world’s largest motherboard manufacturers, chances are you’re probably aware of the company. But for those of you who don’t know, MSI motherboards are well known for their rock-solid stability. As a result, their products are used in many Tier One OEM’s PCs. Chip manufacturers are also well aware of MSI. MSI was one of a handful of motherboard partners chosen by Intel for the Pentium 4 launch in 2000; NVIDIA also selected MSI as one of its launch partners for its nForce chipset last year.
Besides their outstanding stability, MSI products are also priced very competitively, especially in comparison to other established players such as ASUS.
Now that we’ve got a basic formula of MSI’s success, lets take a closer look at the KT4 Ultra. Is KT400 a worthy successor to the KT333 chipset? Read on to find out!
The Gainward Ti 4600 card matches the KT4 Ultra well
Active cooling on the North Bridge
MSI KT4 Ultra-FISR
C-Media 8738 5.1 Channel Audio
1 AGP, 6
100-280MHz in 1MHz increments
1 FDD, 2 ATA/133, 2 Serial ATA RAID Channels, 1 ATA/133 RAID - Promise 20376