Date Posted: July 15, 2002
Used primarily in servers and workstations, SMP, which stands for Symmetric Multi processing, allows two operations, or threads, to be processed at a time within the OS. This splits the load between the processors, which in turn allows for speedier, more stable operation. SMP is a very costly alternative, which has relegated it mostly to servers, workstations and home users with deep pockets.
Why is it so costly to build an SMP capable system? There are several reasons. The biggest reason is motherboard costs. A decent motherboard that is capable of running two AMD processors in SMP mode will cost you $250. The processor themselves will run you anywhere from $100 to $300 a piece. You also need to buy high-quality memory. When you add up the costs of the motherboard, memory and processors, your total can easily add up to $600 or more. Many people fail to see any reason to pay $600 for a mainboard, memory and processors when they can get a decent KT333 combo for under $300. Is building an SMP capable system worth all of the cash? It is really a matter of personal taste. SMP systems do tend to be more stable and perform better than their single-CPU cousins, but whether or not the extra stability and performance is worth an extra $300 can be debated forever.
The AMD Athlon XP processors are not guaranteed by AMD to run in SMP mode, although lower speed models will run in SMP mode out of the box, higher speed models require the L5 bridges to be connected to run in SMP mode. If you do not want to worry about compatibility and stability issues, I suggest buying Athlon MP processors, as they are guaranteed by AMD to run in SMP mode. A very popular site that caters to the SMP community is . Instructions on unlocking the XP for SMP use and an SMP FAQ can be found at 2CPU.
MSI made quite an impression when they released the K7D Master Mainboard. PC enthusiasts wanting a motherboard that not only performed but offered stability as well flocked toward the K7D Master. While Symmetric Multi Processing is still not an option for many people, those who have adopted it have been very impressed with MSI's offering. Rather then rest on their laurels, MSI has released an updated version of the K7D Master, the K7D Master-L. First, the obligatory "ripped-from-the -website" specifications...
- Supports dual Socket A (Socket-462) for AMD® Athlon" MP processors
- Supports up to Athlon MP 2100+ or higher
" AMD® 762" chipset (949 BGA)
- Supports 200MHz High speed, split transaction system bus
- A 66/33MHz 64/32bit PCI 2.2 compliant bus interface supports up to seven bus masters
- The 66MHz AGP 2.0 compliant interface supports 1x, 2x, and 4x data transfer mode
" AMD® 768" chipset (492 BGA)
- Host (primary) PCI bus utilizes a 66 MHz, 32-bit interface.
- Enhanced IDE controller (through ATA100)
- LPC bus to connect peripherals such as super IO and BIOS
- Extensive ACPI-compliant power management logic
- IO APIC controller
- AC97 soft audio controller
FSB: 100/133MHz clocks are supported (266 MHz Internal System Bus) Main Memory
- Supports eight memory banks using four184-pin DDR DIMM
- Supports DDR SDRAM DIMM
- Supports a maximum memory size of 4GB (registered DDR only)
- One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) Pro Slot (4X mode)
- Two 64-bit/66MHz and three 32-bit/33MHz PCI Slots
- Supports 3.3v/5v PCI bus interface
* An IDE controller on the AMD-768" chipset provides IDE
HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 100
* Can connect up to four IDE devices.
Network (Optional, for K7D Master-L only)
" Intel® 82559ER LAN Controller
- Integrated IEEE802.3 10-BaseT & 100-BaseTX PHY
- Direct Sound AC97 Audio
4 port USB2.0 USB card (Optional, for K7D Master-L only)
- 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
On-Board Peripherals include:
- 1 floppy port supports 2 FDDs with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes.
- 2 serial ports (COMA + COM B)
- 1 parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
- 1 IrDA connector for SIR/FIR/ASKIR/HPSIR.
- 4 USB ports (Rear * 2/ Front * 2)
- 1 audio/game port
- The mainboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the
- The mainboard provides a Desktop Management Interface (DMI) func-tion which records your mainboard.
30.5 cm(L) x 25.2 cm(W) ATX Form Factor
9 mounting holes.
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