The MSI K7D Master Dual Socket A Motherboard
Athlon Power X 2!

By Marco Chiappetta
May 21, 2002

There is no denying that AMD has done very well with their Athlon line of processors.  A few years ago, back in the K6 days, AMD CPUs were found only in low-end desktop systems.  The terms "high-performance" and "K6" were never used in the same sentence.  Things began to turn around a bit with the K6-2 though.  Performance was better than the K6, and new proprietary features were added like AMD's 3D Now!.  Then the K6-III hit the market, and while it wasn't a best seller, it's price / performance ratio was relatively good when compared to similarly clocked Intel Pentium processors. 

At that point,  the on line hardware community started buzzing after hearing rumored specifications of AMD's next desktop processor, the K7, which later became known as the Athlon.  No longer was AMD playing catch-up to Intel.  The K7 was a completely new architecture that would incorporate a high performing bus, and be designed for top performance at high clock speeds.  Then the processor launched and for the first time since they became the dominant player in the desktop space, Intel had fight to recapture the "Speed Crown".  The battle that ensued resulted in a slew of new products from both AMD and Intel, and when the dust settled AMD walked away with a much larger piece of the desktop CPU pie, than anyone would have forecasted.

Not happy with their new found loyalists in the desktop space, AMD set out to make and in-roads in the server market.  They released a new multi-processor capable chipset and began qualifying their Athlon XP CPUs to work in SMP systems.  The eventual end result is what we are reviewing here today, the MSI K7D Master AMD 760-MPX based Dual-CPU motherboard, populated with two Athlon MP 2000+ processors.


CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW.

  

Specifications / Features of the MSI K7D Master
Double Your Pleasure...
Special Features:
  • Supports Dual Socket A (Socket-462) for AMD Athlon MP processors
  • Supports Single Socket A Athlon XP/ Athlon / Duron processors
  • Support AGP PRO
  • USB 2.0 PCI Card
  • Intel 82559ER LAN Controller (Optional)

CPU:

  • Supports Dual Socket A (Socket-462) for AMD Athlon MP processors
  • Two Socket 462 for AMD Athlon MP Processors 1900+ or higher

Chipset:

  • AMD 762 chipset. (North-Bridge 949 BGA)
  • Supports 266MHz high speed, split transaction system bus
  • AGP PRO 4x and PCI Advanced high performance memory controller
  • AMD 768 chipset. (South-Bridge 492 BGA)
  • Host (primary) PCI bus utilizes a 66MHz, 32-bit interface
  • Enhanced IDE controller. (Through to ATA-100)
  • LPC bus to connect peripherals such as super IO and BIOS
  • Extensive ACPI-compliant power management logic
  • IO APIC controller

FSB:

  • Supports 200/266MHz FSB

Main Memory:

  • Four 184-pin DDR DIMM - Maximum memory size up to 4GB. (Registered DDR only)

Slots:

  • One AGP PRO slot
  • Two 64-bit/66MHz PCI slots
  • Three 32-bit/33MHz PCI slots

On-Board IDE:

  • An IDE controller on the AMD 768 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 66/100 operation modes
  • Can connect up to four IDE devices
Audio:
  • Chip Integrated
  • Direct Sound AC'97 Audio

Network: (optional)

  • Intel 82559ER LAN controller
  • Integrated IEEE 802.3 10-BaseT & 100-BaseTX PHY
  • Wake-On-LAN and WFM 2.0

On-Board Peripherals:

  • 1 Floppy port supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
  • 2 Serial ports (COM A + COM B)
  • 1 Parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
  • 1 IrDA connector for SIR/ASKIR/HPSIR
  • 1 Audio/Game port
  • 4 USB 2.0

USB 2.0: (PCI 5 port USB card)

  • Compliant with USB specification Revision 2.0 (Data Rate 1.5/12/480Mbps)
  • Compliant with Open Host Controller Interface specification for USB Rev 1.0a
  • Root Hub with 4 external and sharing with 1 internal downstream facing ports

BIOS:

  • The mainboard BIOS provides AMI "Plug & Play" Flash BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically
  • The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your mainboard specifications

Dimensions:

  • ATX Form Factor

Mounting:

  • 9 mounting holes

The MSI K7D Master doesn't ship with an elaborate hardware and software bundle.  This isn't the type of product that needs to ship with multiple hard drive cables or external plates for digital audio.  We're talking all business here.

  

Included with the MSI K7D Master, you'll find a single 80-Wire UDMA/100 hard drive cable, a floppy cable, a driver and utility CD, a very complete user's manual and a USB 2.0 PCI card.  At first, finding the USB 2.0 PCI card seemed like a very nice bonus, until we realized it was included to compensate for a potentially defective on-board USB 1.1 controller.  The first revision of the AMD 768 Southbridge used on the K7D Master (and a slew of similar products) had a problem with the USB portion of the chip.

The BIOS, Layout and Quality