thinks of quality motherboards, several manufacturers come
to mind, one of which has to be MSI. For over 15
MSI has been producing some of the finest computer
products on the market and today we've reviewed yet another,
the 694T Pro Motherboard. This model being the first
of their motherboards to sport the new VIA Apollo Pro133T
Chipset, offering support for Intel's new "Tualatin"
With the promising
results we've been seeing with the last few "Tualatin"
capable motherboards, I was eager to get the testing going
and see how the 694T Pro performed. So let us jump right
into it with a run down of the product specs...
|Specifications of the
MSI 694T Pro Motherboard
How Did They Fit It
USB PC 2
Socket 370 for the whole series of new generation
Intel® Pentium® III(FC-PGA / FC-PGA2), Celeron™ and
500MHz to 1.13GHz.
VIA® 694X / 694T
(North-Bridge 510BGA)66/100/133MHz FSB
(South-Bridge 352 BGA)
Integrated super I/O (FDC, LPT, COM 1&2 and IR)
DirectSound AC'97 audio
bus-master IDE ultra DMA 33/66/100
Maximum memory size of 1.5GB
Supports 3.3v SDRAM DIMM
ECC(1-bit Error Code Correct)
An IDE controller
on the VIA VT82C686B chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM
with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 33/66/100 operation
Can connect up to
four IDE devices.
One AMR (Audio
Modem Riser) slot
One AGP 4X slot
Five 32-bit master
PCI bus slots and one 16-bit ISA bus slot (shared)
PCI bus interface
1 Floppy port
supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and
2 Serial ports (COM
A + COM B)
1 Parallel port
supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
4 USB ports (rear x2 / front x2, one for USB
1 IrDA/HP connector
AMI Flash BIOS
The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS
which detects the peripheral devices and expansion
cards of the board automatically.
provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function
which records your mainboard specifications.
When we first opened the box to the 694T Pro motherboard, we
were pleasantly surprised. This is one of the more
complete packages we've seen here in the H.H. labs for quite
some time. Here is a list of what you can expect to
get in addition to the 694T Pro motherboard:
A Users Manual
A D-LED Users Guide
A MSI Case Badge
1 - 80-PIN ATA 100 IDE Cable
1 - Floppy Cable
1 - PC-to-PC USB Cable
1 - USB D-Bracket
A Drivers/Utilities CD
Not only does
MSI offer a nice bit of extras "ON" their motherboard, but
they also offer a nice bit of extras "WITH" their
motherboard. Often we've written about motherboard
manufacturers that design a beautiful motherboard with a
vast array of features yet they don't include the extra
hardware required to take advantage of these features.
This was certainly not the case with the 694T Pro. For
example, we were refreshed to find that when MSI boasted
that their new board had the ability to connect two PC's via
USB, they included All necessary hardware and software for
users to take full advantage of this feature. I lost
count how many times I have reported that a motherboard had
additional USB headers on it, yet no hardware was provided
by the manufacturer.
Another nice touch was a
Drivers/Utilities CD that is jam-packed with useful
applications to take full advantage of the motherboards
features. MSI has put together a simple and clean menu
that allows a user easy access to every bit of software on
With such a nice presentation
and attention to providing quality media, It was
disappointing to see that some of the drivers on the CD were
not current. Included on this disk were the VIA
4-in1drivers Version 4.29 yet Version 4.32 has been out for
several months now. MSI also included nVidia Detonator
drivers but unfortunately they were version 10.40, there
have been several revisions since the 10.40's were released.
However in anticipation of software becoming outdated, MSI
had the good mind to include links to both sites so you can
check for updates regularly.
I found that the
CD comes with so many useful utilities for overclocking and
tweaking of the 694T Pro, it proved impractical to discuss
them all. Instead, I've highlighted what I thought
would be the more popular and helpful applications...
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