The MSI K7D Master is
equipped with an Award BIOS, similar to the vast
majority of boards that have passed through the
H.H. labs. There are a wide array of options
available for tweaking memory and AGP performance,
as well as settings for enabling or disabling the
on-board accessories. We were also pleased
to see options available to shut the system down
if the CPU hits a certain temperature.
The "Frequency /
Voltage Control" section of the BIOS, where all of
the overclocking tools are found, is a little
light. Users have the ability to alter
multipliers between 5 and 12.5, and can change the
CPU's core voltage from 1.1v to 1.85v in .25v
increments. There are no settings for AGP or
memory voltage adjustments though. The
selection of Front Side Bus frequencies is also
thin. Users can select from only five
options, 133, 138, 140, 144 or 150MHz.
Installing and setting
up the MSI K7D Master was quick and painless.
With the exception of installing the second CPU
and making sure you've got a power supply capable
of supporting the hardware, it's really no
different than setting up any other system.
We should also mention the box recommends using
only registered DIMMs, but the manual stated
standard unbuffered DIMMS would work in the first
two memory slots. We tested the board with
three different brands of memory, Corsair, Crucial
and Mushkin, and found them all to work properly.
If you stick with quality memory, we don't think
you'll have a problem. Another interesting
point is that this board worked properly for us
with two Athlon XP CPUs installed.
Technically, the Athlon XP and MP are the same
CPU, so for the most part, Athlon XPs will work in
a Dual-CPU configuration. The only
difference between an Athlon XP and an Athlon MP
is that the MPs go through a strict testing
regimen to insure their compatibility and
stability when used in a multi-processor setup.
This extra testing results in a higher price, but
at least you'll know they work! The K7D
Master will also work with Durons and
"Thunderbird" Athlons, but only with a single CPU.
The MSI K7D Master is
equipped with an AGP Pro slot, two 64-bit / 66MHz
PCI slots and three 32-bit / 33MHz PCI slots.
Many PCI 2.1 cards will work in the 64-Bit slots,
but you lose one PCI slot to the included USB 2.0
card though and, unfortunately, it will NOT fit in
one of the 64-Bit slots. There are four DIMM
slots capable of a maximum of 4GB of memory when
using registered DIMMs. There is ample room
around the sockets for most aftermarket coolers,
but don't expect to fit anything too large, like
an Alpha 8045 on this board. We used a pair
Mounted to the
Northbridge is a very nice heatsink and fan combo,
which luckily had a smooth layer of thermal paste
applied before installation. Something we
found more interesting were the relatively large
heatsinks mounted to the M.O.S.F.E.T.s that
comprise the CPU power circuitry. On
virtually every new motherboard, these
M.O.S.F.E.T.s used in the power circuitry
generally get very hot. Adding heatsinks to
keep them cool is an excellent step towards
insuring a long lifetime, while increasing overall
stability. Kudos to MSI for taking this
The rest of the MSI
K7D Master's physical aspects are similar to most
other boards currently available. The Floppy
and IDE connectors are mounted at the corner of
the board, perpendicular the edge. The
internal connectors for the case header are also
at the edge of the board, and are clearly labeled,
making installation that much easier.
Looking at the external connectors, you'll see the
plug for the on-board Intel (yes Intel...hehe)
10/100 Ethernet controller as well as the standard
PS2, Serial. Parallel and audio connectors.
Overclocking & Preliminary Tests