iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail

Platform

Video

Multimedia

Mobile

Other

MSI K7Turbo-R Limited Edition

July 1, 2001



About boards and BOARDS

Micro-Star, as any other large manufacturer, tries to offer as wide range of products as possible so that they may suit both OEM companies, smaller PC assemblers and those users who prefer to build their own unique machines. In the latter case a board must be unusual and extraordinary both inwardly and outwardly.

MSI produces boards which has an almost optimal balance between a beautiful appearance, an internal substance and good hardware and software sets. Today some manufacturers just paint their boards to make them exclusive and sell at a very high price. MSI isn't keen on such things. That is why we introduce you our today's hero with great pleasure: MSI K7Turbo-R Limited Edition mainboard.

Specification

  • AMD Athlon (266/200 MHz FSB) & AMD Duron support, SocketA, 462 pins
  • Chipset
    • VIA Apollo KT-133A (VT8363A north bridge and VT82C686B south bridge)
    • FSB 266/200 MHz
  • Memory
    • 3 x 168-pin 3.3v DIMMs
    • From 8 MBytes tp 1.5 GBytes PC100/133 SDRAM support
  • Integrated IDE controller
    • 2 x PCI Bus Master UATA 33/66/100 IDE connectors (up to 4 ATAPI devices)
    • PIO Mode 3, 4, UATA 33/66/100 IDE & ATAPI CD-ROM support
  • External IDE RAID controller
    • Promise PDC20265R chip
    • 2 x PCI Bus Master UATA 33/66/100 IDE connectors (up to 4 ATAPI devices)
    • PIO Mode 3, 4, UATA 33/66/100 IDE & ATAPI CD-ROM support
    • RAID 0 and 1 mode support
  • Integrated I/O controller
    • 1 FDD connector
    • 2 connectors of serial ports
    • 1 parallel port with EPP/ECP/SPP modes
    • PS/2 connectors for mouse and keyboard
    • 4 x USB ports, 2 integrated and 2 on a bracket
  • Sound
    • Integrated AC'97 codec
    • VIA VT1611A chip
  • Expansion slots
    • 1 AGP slot with 4X mode support
    • 6 X 32-bit PCI Bus Master slot, PCI 2.2 support
    • 1 CNR slot
  • BIOS
    • AWARD Plug-and-Play BIOS
    • APM 1.2
    • ACPI 1.0
  • Form-factor
    • ATX, 230mm x 304mm

Impressions

The vinous motherboard has a wealth of various functions, the most notable being the IDE RAID, which with more than one HDD with IDE interface helps to increase considerably the speed of operation of the disc subsystem (Stripe mode) or to reduce a probability of data losses (Mirror mode).

Besides, this board is equipped with a series of proprietary technologies such as D-LED, Fuzzy Logic III, Live BIOS, and PC-2-PC. The former allows backtracing the process of passing by the system of the POST procedure (Power On Self Test) when a bracket with one USB connector and 4 LEDS is connected to the rear panel of the computer, and allows diagnosing an out-of-order element when loading problems occur.

The Fuzzy Logic III helps you to change the CPU frequency from the Windows. This program can implement these instructions both in auto and in manual modes. But with the BIOS you will achieve more impressing results than those obtained with this utility. The auto mode from FuzzyLogic helps, however, to set a well serviceable mode without a user's interference. That is why an overclocking becomes available for a wider range of users.

The Live BIOS allows making update of the BIOS by just connecting the Internet with the help of the Explorer 4.01 and higher. The program will automatically check a new version and will update the chip if necessary. If the operating system hangs, the contents of the BIOS chip can be damaged.

The "Limited Edition" board differs from a basic model in a wider set of functions. The main distinguishing feature is the design of the board, box and documentation.

On the box you can see an impressing hologram. Two booklets make the User Manual. The first one describes the board and answers all questions on installation in English. In the second one you will find the information about the jumpers in 9 languages.

Now let's talk about the PC-2-PC connection with a USB cable. The board is supplied with a cable and a bracket with two connectors on the rear panel of the computer. One of the connectors is standard. The other is a so called "Type B" one. It must be connected with a cable which has "Type A" connector on its end. When this cable is connected to another computer, the network will work at 12 Mbit. This way in the definite conditions you can create at home practically a free network.

A separate booklet contains the detailed description of the IDE RAID controller. A CD, supplied with the board, contains drivers for boards, video cards etc. from MSI. Besides, there are short descriptions of all motherboards in the PDF format. The CD also contains utilities of AMI and Award for operation with the Suspend-To-Disk function and WinFlash of Award for updating BIOS from Windows. Besides, there are LiveBIOS, Fuzzy Logic 3 and PC Alert programs (the latter is the utility of monitoring of temperatures and fan speeds). It should be noted that you can't run at the same time Fuzzy Logic and PC Alert.

The CD also offers MediaRing Talk program for online communication on the Internet, VNC-client and a sever for a computer remote control (for details go to http://www.orl.co.uk/vnc), and the Xteq X-Setup - an unquestionable leader among the programs for adjusting the majority of the Windows parameters.

The board is also supplied with a usual bracket with 2 USB ports, a PC-2-PC bracket, 40- and 80-conductor IDE cables and an FDD cable.

Now let me turn to the board. The engineers have done their best - the board won't make the computer assemblage difficult. The only drawback is the fact that IDE RAID connectors will be difficult to access in case of installation of full-size PCI cards in the last two slots. The board has four 4700 uF and two 3900 uF capacitors which make the board's operation very stable. The AGP slot is equipped with a bracket to prevent an accidental falling out of a video card from the slot. Besides, there are several jumpers, two of which control switching on/off of the IDE RAID and make a choice of its mode - RAID or UATA/100. There is also a jumper for cleaning the CMOS contents, and a jumper for setting the base processor's frequency - 100 or 133 MHz. The other settings are adjusted with the help of the BIOS Setup.

The BIOS is based on the 6.00 from Award. You can change a CPU frequency up to 199 MHz in 1 MHz increments and change voltages of the core, chipset and memory. In the first case - within the range of 1.3 - 1.85 V in 0.025 V steps, in the second case - you can choose either 3.3 V or 3.45 V.

In closing I want to say that the board has left very pleasant impressions as far as its design and possibilities are concerned.

Tests

Test system:

  • MSI K7-TurboR Limited Edition motherboard
  • Epox 8KTA3+ motherboard
  • AMD Athlon 1.33 GHz processor, 266 MHz FSB
  • ActRAM Tonicom 256 MBytes PC166 memory
  • Seagate Barracuda ATA III ST340824A hard disc, 40 GBytes
  • Leadtek GeForce3 video card
  • CDD-ROM Asustek 50x

Performance

Comments:

The MSI loses nearly everywhere to the EPoX 8KTA3+, regardless of the test software. But the gap is not big. This picture makes me think that it is just a reassurance of the MSI developers. It is well know that the number of settings in the BIOS depends on their desire.

Conclusion

The MSI K7Turbo-R Limited Edition board has a very good design, a lot of functions, it is convenient to use and stable. The overclocking possibilities are perfect - not so many manufacturers allow lifting not only Vcore but also VIO and Vmem. Good capacitors and a bracket on the AGP slot, as well as the IDE RAID controller from Promise and not from HighPoint prove that the developers didn't try to save on this board.

The software set is excellent. Apart from the standard LiveBIOS and FuzzyLogic III, you can find there VNC-client and Xteq X-Setup as well as the PC-2-PC, which allow you to create a home network quickly and painlessly, and where you can play Quake III as much as possible.

Highs:

  • Very pleasant design
  • UATA/100 IDE RAID, D-LED, PC-2-PC
  • Vcore/VIO/Vmem adjustment, possibility to change FSB frequency in 1 MHz steps
  • LiveBIOS, FuzzyLogic III, PC Alert

Lows:

  • The minimal performance loss, which you won't feel anyway

Write a comment below. No registration needed!


Article navigation:



blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook


Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.