MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR Bluetooth Motherboard Review
We really liked the original KT3 Ultra-ARU mainboard we reviewed
earlier in the year.
According to the specs the only difference
between the two boards is Bluetooth compatibility, so what else is
have gone with red PCB's for all their flagship motherboards, and I must say they
do look pretty good in the right light. These days, style seems just as
important as performance!
The KT3 Ultra2-BR has all the goodies we've come to expect out of a
motherboard - onboard USB 2.0, 5.1 audio (software codec), five PCI slots, three DIMM's and
now even Bluetooth!
at the KT3 Ultra2-BR
motherboard we can see that it uses the same layout as the original
KT3 Ultra and we're not at all surprised. It was a good layout then, and it still
is now. Basically all MSI did was replace the old VT8233 southbridge and remove
the NEC USB 2.0 chipset on the original KT3 Ultra and replace them with the new
USB 2.0 compatible VIA VT8235 southbridge and
bluetooth adaptors (basically a USB 2.0 header). The KT3 Ultra2-BR still has some
other goodies like onboard 5.1 audio, and onboard Ultra/133 IDE RAID.
Of course since the KT3 Ultra2-BR does inherit
the old layout it still has the same problems that plagued the old motherboard. The fan
header is way too close to the to the Clear CMOS jumper. Also, my personal pet peeve is
this little capacitor which sits closely to the AGP lock. Even though my fingers
are small, every time I unlock the AGP card I'd nudge it a bit which is very
Since consumer CNR devices are almost non existent, it would have been nice
to instead have a sixth PCI slot... where the CNR slot sits. With
an integrated LAN controller in the southbridge I often wonder why manufacturers don't use take advantage of
Around the Socket: Heatsink
|Bottom (cam) Clearance:
|Left Side (arm) Clearance:
|Right Side Clearance
|Socket Mounting Holes:
||5mm Ødia. |
|Max. Heatsink Base Dimensions (wxh):
||~100x85 mm |
measurements are made from the edge of the socket (not the clips) to
the closest obstacle taller than the ZIF socket
itself. The socket is 51mm across, and 62mm from
top to bottom.
As we can see, MSI has graciously cleared the
area next to the CPU socket of capacitors and other things that could get in the
way in installing larger heatsinks on those spicy AthlonXP processors. We wish more mainboards would be designed in a friendly way
towards larger heatsinks. The holes around the socket are a rare thing now, as
AMD has officially dropped the spec from its list of requirements. Newer
mainboards will not have those four holes anymore.
The only complaint we have here about the socket on the KT3 Ultra2-BR
is just how close it is to the top of the mainboard. In cases where there is not
a lot of space between the powersupply and the motherboard tray this kind of
placement makes it really, really difficult to install the heatsink without
first having to remove the powersupply.
If you have a heatsink which requires the use of a flat head screw
driver, and that kind of case it is just about impossible to properly install
Rotate the socket 90 degrees and all
those problems vanish... but we all know trace lines are not that easy to change
so I really recommend removing the mainboard from the case to install the heatsink, or pulling out the powersupply if you have a
case that butts the two up close together. One of the guys in the
lab tried to get around doing that and accidentally fried an
At least on the chipset cooling side we were
happy to see a nice active cooling heatsink on the AIA KT333
northbridge. It gets somewhat hot during use, so
this heatsink probably helps stability quite a lot.