Articles: Mainboards

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The S-Bracket is optional, too. This bracket for the back panel of the system case carries audio outputs for central and rear audio channels and two S/PDIF outputs – optical and coaxial. Again, I don’t know what mainboard versions this S-Bracket comes with. Without it, you cannot enjoy six-channel sound without losing the microphone and line-in inputs. This is a common problem of all mainboards that have only three mini-jacks at their connectors panel.

Yet another interesting technology implemented in the MSI KT6 Delta (and in all latest mainboards from MSI, for that matter) is CoreCell. The MSI website promises a fountain of happiness from this technology: reduced power consumption, longer life of nearly every system component and so on. Having put this feature to a practical test, CoreCell only proved capable of adjusting the FSB frequency and voltages from Windows (it comes with a special Windows-based utility called CoreCenter) and could warn you and then automatically shut down the system after a user-defined critical temperature is achieved.

But they also promised automatic and manual adjustment of the fan rotation speed. I guess these two options would be the most attractive points of CoreCell. And these two don’t work, although the necessary interface is present. I’m at a loss thinking of a reason for that, actually.

PCB Design

The PCB layout of the MSI KT6 Delta overall resembles that of the MSI KT4A Ultra, we reviewed a couple of months ago. Compare the snapshots (KT4A Ultra above and KT6 Delta below):

MSI KT4A Ultra


Well, it would be strange if the mainboards differed, since KT400A and KT600 North Bridges are pin-compatible. I suppose the South Bridges don’t differ in the pin layout much, either, and MSI didn’t have to make any big changes to the PCB. There are minor distinctions, though, which we definitely should mention.

The most obvious ones are the ATX power connector moved to the front edge of the board and the 4-pin 12V auxiliary connector appearing. This additional 12V connector must have been introduced because of high power demands of the 200MHz FSB of the newest Athlon XP processors. As for moving the main power connector to the front, I guess this is provoked by certain peculiarities of the PCB wiring layout. Interestingly, three 200MHz-bus mainboards I have encountered (ASUS A7V600, DFI LAN PARTY NFII Ultra and the currently-reviewed MSI KT6 Delta) all had the main ATX power connector located at the same spot.

Some other mainboard components have made a short trip around, too, although without any negative consequences for the user. For example, the BIOS-supporting battery moved to the back edge of the PCB. The Clear CMOS jumper, which is usually located next to the battery, was left intact at the front edge.

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