iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






MSI KT4 Ultra (VIA KT400) Mainboard

This board has the least combination of functions in the MSI's line based on this chipset. Besides, we tested a preproduction sample. 


  • Package: cardboard box laminated with a glittering red and blue cover; 
  • Documentation: user manual, installation manual for PC2PC Bluetooth, guide for computer assembling, installation manual for Serial ATA RAID - in English; 
  • Cables: 1 ATA66/100/133, 2 SATA and FDD; 
  • S-Bracket; 
  • D-Bracket; 
  • Bracket with 3 IEEE 1394 ports; 
  • Bracket for the rear computer panel; 
  • Diskette with drivers for IDE RAID; 
  • 2 CDs containing: 
    • drivers; 
    • DirectX 8.1; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader; 
    • VNC; 
    • 3Deep; 
    • PC-Cillin 2000; 
    • X-Setup; 
    • MSI DVD; 
    • MSI Fuzzy Logic (for auto CPU overclocking); 
    • MSI GoodMem (for memory optimization); 
    • MSI InfoView (information on system devices); 
    • MSI i-Speeder (for optimization of the Internet access and monitoring of network connections); 
    • MSI Live Update 2 (for auto update of drivers and BIOS); 
    • MSI LockBox (to lock a computer access); 
    • MSI PCAlert III (for system monitoring); 
    • MSI SecureDoc (for file encryption); 
    • MSI SmartKey (for working with SmartKey). 

The layout has typical drawbacks: when a video card is installed it's difficult to handle the memory modules, connectors on the left edge an additional power supply connector are in bad positions. It can be difficult to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are shown on the textolite. 

The 2-channel switching voltage regulator incorporates 9 capacitors of 2200 uF. 

The following controllers are integrated: 

  • audio controller based on the C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch-MX AC'97 codec supporting 5.1 audio systems and having connectors for front audio inputs/outputs. 

Non-unsoldered connectors: numerous controllers and their connectors which will supplement the board in its advanced versions, and a connector for the Bluetooth module. 

The system monitoring is supported by the Winbond WT83697HF chip. What is controlled: 

  • processor voltage, +-5 and +-12 V, Battery, +5 V SB; 
  • speed of 2 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (a built-in sensor) and the board (a built-in sensor). 

There are 2 connectors for adjustable connection of fans. 

Brief characteristics of the board: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 6 PCI; I/O ports - 2 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0; dimensions - 305x230 mm. 

Adjustment can be carried out with: 

jumpers and switchesJumper to clear up the CMOS 
Switches to set a mode of the Center/Subwoofer channelCenter/Sub / Sub/Center
BIOS based on the AMI 3.31aSetup of memory timings+CAS Latency, Precharge Time, Pulse Width, RAS to CAS Delay, Bank Interleave, 1T Command, Fast Command, DQS Input Delay, Burst Length.
Setup of memory frequency+Auto, DDR200, DDR266, DDR333, DDR400
Setup of AGP bus+ 
Setup of PCI bus+ 
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses- 
Manual assignment of interrupts+ 
Changeable FSB frequency+100-280 MHz in 1MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier+x6-x15
Changeable core voltage+1.5-1.85 V in 0.025V steps
Changeable memory voltage+Auto, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8 B
Changeable chipset voltage- 
Changeable AGP bus voltage+Auto, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 V

We used the latest available version of the BIOS - BIOS 1.0. 

The main downside of the board is typical of cheap solutions of brand-name companies: even at the lowest price in the MSI line the board is still dearer than its competitors from the low-end market, and its functions are weaker. Nevertheless, the model is worthy, and if you are ready to pay for the name (which implies high quality), and if you don't need integrated controllers of various peripherals, this will be a good choice. 

Test results:  


Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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