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POV-Ray streams plenty of data from main memory to the CPU and back to perform its intensive calculations required to render our test scene. As you can see, MSI has taken the chipset and added its own twists. It’s certainly eye catching, that’s for sure. Software is also installed on the operating system that stops the OS from functioning properly if the correct SmartKey isn’t detected. Not ideal at all.

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There are also 2 fan headers near the top edge of the board, to the left and right of the DIMM slots. This board initially faired just as badly. A smart move on VIA’s part indeed. Aueio numbers in this benchmark fall right into line with the Reference numbers provided with Sandra in this new version. A closer inspection of the CPU socket reveals something a bit more disturbing.

MSI K7T266 Pro2 – motherboard – ATX – Socket A – KT266A Series

Let’s start with Sandra first off: So there we have them, the numbers most people will be looking for. I must point out that it has been a real struggle to get performance out of the MSI board. This is the second K7T Pro2 from MSI we’ve had here in Hexus labs due to time constraints in keeping the first board, but during the time audoo had with it, performance k7t2666 significantly lower than expected.

I didn’t install the extra Windows software component due to it being a review motherboard but rest assured the hardware side of things works well. A couple of BIOS tweaks and a general going over and that should be that.

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So what can we draw from the following numbers? It also seems like the BIOS setup is critical. I was a bit sceptical of its position at first, but, in my case at least, it seems to get the ATX connector out of the way very well seeing as though the ATX connector is the most bulky connector you’ll attach to a motherboard and also the aurio inflexible making a poor connector placement an extra hassle.

As you can see, MSI has taken k7h266 chipset and added its own twists. I must stress that the layout of motherboard is pure personal taste and some problem item in one case might be k7266 in another.

V-MAP chips are the same size and have the same pin compatible layout that makes this possible. But VIA have persevered and here it is.

However, I’ve had nothing k7t26 problems with the onboard sound driver under Windows XP. I always like to take a look at the layout of the motherboards that pass through my system.

I could be wrong however. The immense room around the socket will please users of waterblocks, Swiftech’s and VapoChill units.

The inclusion of things like USB2. Before we get our hands dirty in the specifications, remember a chipset is just that, a set of individual chips that work together to provide the services the AMD platform needs to function. However, the extremely nice guys over at MSI were happy to work with us to try and solve our problems and a BIOS flash is finally giving us some k7tt266 numbers.

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MSI K7T266 Pro2U – motherboard – ATX – Socket A – KT266A

We are rendering the pawns scene here at x resolution. Board layout as we’ve discussed is fine. All in all, not a hugely compelling upgrade over current AMD DDR solutions, but the speed increases are there to be used if you can take advantage of them. The notable additions include the USB 2. It’s the little things all rolled into one that make the MSI stand out for me.

So what of this new chipset? Three operating systems, Windows 98, Windows and Windows XP were installed without any problems.

MSI K7T Pro2U – motherboard – ATX – Socket A – KTA Overview – CNET

The version used doesn’t detect the Athlon MP correctly, complaining of an unknown processor stepping code. Finally before we hit the pretty pictures, the tests are performed at the default system speed of Mhz 9 x and K7t26 9 x showing the improvements to be gained both in clock speed and memory bandwidth via a higher front side bus clock.

Here are the official specifications. I’ll be looking to expand the test suite over the coming weeks into a well rounded comprehensive test suite, something which previous Hexus reviews may possibly have lacked in the past.