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MSI K7D Master

Written By:
Date Posted:
June 14 , 2002

Today we will be looking at the MSI K7D Master mainboard. Considering the fact that has a good working relationship with AMD, their decision to release an SMP capable Athlon MP board wasn't a huge surprise. While MSI was not the first company to release a dual MP board, (that respect goes to Tyan), they are still one of the only companies to do so. AMD has had a hard time entering the server and workstation market so far, despite the fact that their product line is a lot more economical than Intel's. Hopefully more companies will join Tyan, Asus and MSI in releasing AMD Dual Processing boards, allowing AMD to gain market share in this area.

For those of you unfamiliar with Symmetric Multi Processing, or SMP as it is commonly referred to by, here is a rundown. SMP is a technology that allows two threads to be simultaneously processed by the operating system. It does this by giving each CPU a thread to process at the same time. Simply put, SMP speeds up your system by processing more information in a shorter amount of time. This is especially beneficial in CPU intensive programs such as Photoshop or Maya.

SMP is pretty much useless in games, as very few support it. There are a few games such as Quake 3 that do support SMP, but actually run worse with it enabled in some scenarios. Unfortunately, I don't think game developers are moving towards adding SMP functionality anytime soon, since SMP is mostly targeted for workstations and servers.

SMP is still a niche technology. Very few people need, or want, SMP functionality, as it is entirely too expensive. There are a lot of home users that run SMP machines, myself included, because they love the extra "zippiness" that dual processor's bring. Hopefully this review will help you decide whether an investment in SMP is for you.


Supports dual Socket A (Socket-462) for AMD® Athlon" MP processors
Two Socket 462 for AMD® Athlon" MP Processors 1900+ or higher

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.

AC'97 soft audio controller.
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.

Supports 200/266MHz FSB

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

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.

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

USB2.0 (PCI 4 port USB card)
Compliant with USB specification Revision2.0 (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

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.

ATX Form Factor.

9 mounting holes.

The K7D Master is based on the AMD 760MPX chipset, which is currently the only chipset that features dual Athlon MP support. Other than the fact that the 760MPX chipset supports dual processors, it is identical to the 760 chipset. The Northbridge uses the AMD 762 chipset, which features PC2100 DDR support, a 66Mhz/64-bit PCI interface, and a 66 MHZ AGP 2.0 compliant slot. Besides the 64-bit PCI support, there is nothing really exciting about the 762 chipset. The Southbridge uses the AMD 768 chipset, which is very uninteresting. No new features come along with the 768 Southbridge, with the exception of 66Mhz PCI support that goes hand in hand with the 64-bit PCI slots. The K7D Master comes with AC'97 audio, which works fine if it is going in a server. If you plan on using this board in a workstation or home PC, an upgrade to a better sound card is advisable.

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