With the influx of DDR memory
into the market place, came a craving for a high performing
chipset to exploit the increased bandwidth offered
by this new memory type.
was first to introduce a DDR chipset for the
Athlon. However, the chipset
wasn't widely available and was priced slightly
higher than expected.
ALi then jumped into the fray with their DDR
enabled MaGiK1 chipset. The MaGiK1 was quickly
adopted by some major motherboard OEMs and has
met with some success. Many users however chose to
VIA's DDR offering, before spending their hard
earned money on a new motherboard.
VIA announced their KT266 chipset and power users
began chomping at the bit. In the last couple of
years, VIA has been on a roll, releasing
inexpensive, yet high performing chipsets.
This time around, months went by without seeing
any products based on the KT266 chipset. Rumors
circulated that the KT266
was not stable, or was performing far lower than
MSI's K7T266 Pro was introduced but all was
A few well respected sites quickly reviewed the
MSI K7T266 Pro, but their findings were not
consistent. Some sites resorted to soldering
resistors to different locations in an effort to
realize the full potential of the KT266 chipset,
while others argued that a simple BIOS update was
all that was needed for maximum performance.
During this "storm" of information we got our
hands on a retail MSI K7T266 Pro but we decided
to wait until the dust settled and the BIOS and
drivers matured before we passed judgment. We
updated our K7T266 Pro to the recently released
1.20 BIOS, mounted our 1GHz AXIA T-Bird, installed
the Via 4-in-1 4.32s and let her rip. Come
see what we found out.
Specifications / Features of the
MSI K7T266 Pro
Click any Image
for an Enlarged view...
- Socket A
for AMD(R) Athlon™ / Duron™ 600MHz -
Apollo KT266 chipset / VT8233
VT8366 chipset. (552 BGA)
- AGP x1 or
AGP Pro x1(only for K7T266 Por-R)
- CNR x1
- PCI x5
Audio / Video
- Audio Chip
- AGP 4x and
PCI Advanced high performance memory
- Live BIOS
VIA(R) VT8233 chipset. (376 BGA)
Bandwidth Vlink Client controller
Faster Ethernet LPC (Optional CNR card
Hardware Sound Blaster / Direct Sound
- Ultra DMA
33/66/100 master mode PCI EIDE controller
- One CNR
(Communication Network Riser).
- One AGP
(Accelerated Graphics Port) or AGP Pro
slot. Note : AGP Pro only for K7T266
AGP 2.0 1x/2x/4x
32-bit Master PCI Bus slots.
3.3v/5v PCI bus Interface.
- Support 6
memory banks / 3 184-pin DDR DIMM.
- Support a
maximum memory size up to 3GB.
2.5v DDR SDRAM DIMM.
- An IDE
controller on the VIA VT8233 chipset
provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO,
- Bus Master
and Ultra DMA 33/66/100 operation modes.
connect up to four IDE devices.
Promise 20265R On-Board (Optional)
IDE RAID 0 or 1
connect a Master and a Slave drive to each
IDE RAID connector.
- The two
connectors support hard disk drives only.
Note: only the two Master Hard Disk Drives
will adopt RAID function
USB Interface (Optional)
- USB 2.0 HC
On Board (Optional)
- Support 4
USB 2.0 ports via extemal bracket
- USB PC2PC
Networking Function (Optional)
by USB PC2PC Controller
by the JUSB2 pin header
- 6 USB
by VT8233 Soughbirdge
- 2 rear
ports and 4 port supported by JUSB2 &
integrated (2 channel S/W audio) / Direct
Sound AC97 Audio
On-Board Peripherals include:
- 1 Floppy
port supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M,
1.44M and 2.88M
- 2 Serial
ports (COM A+COM B)
- 1 Parallel
port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
- 1 IrDA
connector for SIR/ASKIR/HPSIR
mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS
which detects the peripheral devices and
expansion cards of the board
mainboard provides a Desktop Management
Interface(DMI) function which records your
- ATX Form
Factor (30.4cm x 23.5cm)
- 6 mounting
As you can see
from the above specification list, this
board is feature laden. Even without looking
at the specifications, you'd know the MSI
K7T266 Pro is something special the moment
the box is opened.
The "out of box" experience with the K7T266
Pro is fantastic. Quite a few motherboards
pass through the H.H. labs, making it tough
to get excited about many of the boards we
get our hands on, but not with the K7T266
Pro. This board ships with a plethora of
goodies. In our box we found two excellent
user's manuals outlining the features of
both the board and the on-board Promise RAID
controller. We also found a floppy cable and
two 80-Wire UDMA IDE cables. That is where
most companies would stop, but MSI also
included a set of external USB connectors,
and another USB bracket and cable that will
allow you to connect one PC to another via
the USB ports. All necessary drivers for the
chipset and on-board sound were included as
well as some thermal paste and a sweet
chrome case badge emblazoned with a "Geared
by MSI" graphic.