MSI KT3 Ultra ARU KT333 socket A DDR333

Monday, March 25, 2002


Today, thanks to the timely arrival of the MSI KT3 Ultra ARU, and its VIA KT333 chipset, we've finally been ushered into the era of DDR333 memory. Not only does the KT3 Ultra ARU support DDR333/PC2700 memory, though, but also ATA133 drives. And the fun doesn't stop there -- the KT3 also sports a Promise PDC20276 ATA133 RAID controller, a diagnostic panel, a 6-channel Realtek AL650 sound-card, a Bluetooth controller, and Live BIOS, Fuzy Logic III, and PC Alert III technology. The Ultra ARU is clearly jam-packed with features, that much is clear.

So, with that in mind, let's see what else this board has to offer, by throwing a full-scale analysis at it.

Characteristics of the MSI KT3 Ultra ARU
- Support Socket A (Socket 462) for AMD® Athlon™ /
Athlon XP / Duron™ processor
- Support 600MHz up to 2000+ MHz processor and higher
VIA KT333 VT8366A + VT8233A
Form factor
ATX - 30.4cm X 23.5cm
5 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP - 4 USB
3X 184-pin DIMM 3GB DDR SDRAM PC1600 - PC2100 - PC2700
100MHz to 220MHz in steps of 1MHz
Vcore adj.
1.725 to 1.85v in steps of 0.025v
DDR = 2.6v. 2.7v. 2.8v, AGP = 1.6v. 1.7v. 1.8v
Audio chipset
Realtek AL650


As we mentioned in the introduction, the MSI KT3 Ultra ARU's sound-capabilities are provided by a Realtek AL650 controller. The AL650 is no less than a 6-channel (including a center sub-woofer channel) audio-chip with full suport for Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.

From a fidelity stand-point, the AL650 checks-out on all points -- it offers a very satisfying level of sound-reproduction that should please most users.

MSI, for its part, has also included SPDIF audio connectors as part of their mobo, with output ports for both optical and RCA cables.


The MSI KT3 Ultra ASU's design is full Jumperless, which means no fooling around with jumpers or Dip switches prior to installation.

Every and all adjustement that can be made is accessed through the BIOS, with the principal options located in the "Frequency/Voltage Control" menu.

Once located there, users will be presented with a number of options, including the ability to set the FSB to between 100MHz and 220MHz in 1MHz steps, set the clock multiplier to between 6X and 15X, and set the Vcore, DDR, and AGP voltages to any of the values indicated by the table above.

As expected, the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu also contains a number of options related to memory timing. These include the ability to set the asynchronos memory bus to 100MHz, 133MHz, 166MHz, or SPD (Serial Presence Detect), which allows the system to determine an appropriate setting automaticly.


Next: Technical details.