We normally don’t bother to comment on the packaging of a product, but we were actually surprised by how far MSI had gone to make the product appealing to the average male! Large, shiny, and red, you’d have to be blind to miss the KT3 Ultra. It’s rather amazing that motherboard companies have gone from being color blind to color coordinated in such a short period of time. In case you haven’t noticed, MSI has taken upon itself to claim the red PCB. Now we’re just waiting for the entire board to come in red – PCI slots and chips included.
In the box
The KT3 from MSI comes in two flavors – the KT3 Ultra and KT3 Ultra ARU. The only difference we found between the boards is that the ARU model has four USB2.0 ports and RAID, whereas the other has none. As is getting common these days the gaggle of USB ports comes with a plethora of connectors. It’s actually quite surprising that USB ports are taking up so many PCI slot openings. It’ll be nice when the serial and parallel ports are gone, as tons of room will be opened up on the I/O plane for more USB and FireWire. The board also comes with an CNR riser for the RealTek sound chip. With more and more manufacturers providing onboard sound, we’re curious to know how many of you out there actually use it, or for that matter even take into consideration that it is there.
One feature we’ve always liked MSI for is D-LED. The device consists of four LEDs that blink in different colors and configurations, and are used to help diagnose what is ailing your PC. This used to be located on the board itself before, but now the LEDs have been attached to the USB1.0 connector. This makes the feature even more useful, as you don’t have to open up your case to see what might be the problem.
In terms of overclocking features, the KT3 has everything you need to get you on your way. The ability to adjust the voltages for the CPU, AGP, and RAM will help in achieving stable overclocked speeds. At the moment the multiplier changing ability seems to be a little screwy. It might just be our board, because we do know that other boards have worked fine in this task. In the memory segment, all the usual options are present – Command Rate, CAS, Interleave, as well as a few others. Pretty much nothing is missing, even the ability to adjust the FSB over 166MHz is present, not that many of us will ever get much above 150MHz.
MSI KT3 Ultra ARU
DIMM sockets - up to 3GB
||1 FDD, 2
ATA133 Channels, 2 ATA133 RAID Channels - Promise 20276 (RAID 0,1,)
||1 AGP, 5
PCI slots, 1 CNR
||4 USB 1.1
4USB 2.0 Ports
ALC650 6-channel audio/digital