Articles: Mainboards

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The rest of the connectors were left in their places. The two extra Serial ATA connectors didn’t make a lot of commotion due to their small size. So, the only remark I can make concerning the connectors and cables (besides the ATX) is about the two Parallel ATA and the FDD connectors being placed in a row. This may cause some difficulty in plugging all three loops at a time. On the other hand, Serial ATA devices are quickly gaining their ground and you may even find no use for one of the Parallel ATA connectors.

The last drawback to be mentioned is the placement of the DIMM slots, or rather of two of them, DIMM 2 and DIMM 3. As you may have guessed, they are soldered up too close to each other. This may tell badly on the thermal condition of the installed modules, especially (a paradox!) if the modules have heatsinks. The DIMM slot latches are not blocked even by the longest AGP graphics card, which is an advantage of the PCB design. The drawback of this is the availability of five PCI slots only. However, this is not a big inconvenience for most users.

BIOS and Overclocking

MSI prefers to use BIOS from AMI in its mainboards and the KT6 Delta follows the rule. I should mention though that BIOSes from Award and AMI are now equal in terms of functionality, so this is not a crucial factor anymore.

Once again, let me draw a parallel with the KT4A Ultra. Its BIOS and the KT6 Delta’s one are twins. Well, this is not a great surprise considering the similarities between the mainboards. What’s strange is that the BIOS of the KT6 Delta contains the same typos as the BIOS of KT4A Ultra (see our Review of MSI KT4A Ultra Mainboard on VIA KT400A Chipset). Simply amazing. Well, the KT4A Ultra had those typos in the final version of the BIOS, while here we deal with a beta version. It looks like these two BIOSes were written by the same man, which is not too diligent at learning English, or maybe is just trying to sound funny. :)

Well, enough of jokes. Although KT600 and KT400A are very similar, there are certain differences between them. One of the most interesting ones, for the end-user, is the VT8237 North Bridge supporting Serial ATA and RAID. This is reflected in the BIOS Setup page called Integrated Peripherals.

Note the two items under “Onboard PCI Controller”. As you see, you can disable Parallel as well as Serial ATA controllers in the VT8237. I’m not sure what the advantages of this feature are, but maybe it has to do with the VIA’s South bridge peculiarities.

One more option, which remained a mystery to me in this section, is V-Link Data 2X Support, which is activated only after enabling the Serial ATA controller. The mystery is the latter fact, though. The name of the option may be easily interpreted as doubling of the V-Link interface data-transfer rate. V-Link 8x and V-Link 4x only differ in the data transfer protocol and are fully pin-compatible. But it is quite unclear what Serial ATA has to do with it.

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