|Microstar 6337 i815E Pro
Klein on September 28, 2000 - Page 3/6
Computer Product: Microstar 6337 i815E Pro motherboard
box that the board came in looks colorful and very well done.
The box included the standard equipment. The manual, a driver
CD, IDE and floppy cables, and the board.
manual was arranged the same way a lot of other motherboard
manuals are. It starts with the physical description and
connection points on the board and ends with the BIOS option
descriptions. Overall, the manual is pretty average, but still
laid out in a way that makes looking up information easy. On
one of the CDs thatís included, MSI has placed their
tweaking and monitoring utilities called Fuzzy Logic II and
BusRacing. These utilities make monitoring and even
overclocking from inside Windows possible.
look of the MSI 815E Pro is very clean and well laid out. The
two most striking physical characteristics that I first
noticed were the lack of any ISA slots and the lack of any
heatsink for the ICH2 chip. While the lack of any ISA slots I
would consider an improvement, the lack of any heatsink on the
board left me wondering if MSI knew something that other 815
board makers didn't. If you look at other 815 boards, you'll
most likely notice a heatsink on top of the ICH2 chip. The MSI
815 doesn't include any such cooling method.
interesting physical aspect are the included LEDs on the right
side of the PCI slots. MSI refers to this feature as D-LED.
These LEDs are there to help diagnose any hardware related
problems. This addition is a wonderful new feature. Rather
than not knowing what problem is accruing during boot-up, you
can look at the LED lights and match up the combination
thatís listed in the MSI manual with information that can be
MSI 815E Pro also comes equipped with 4 DIMM slots. Now, the
problem with that is that the 815 chipset is not designed to
run with total stability if more than two double sided DIMMs
are used, or when a more than 1 double sided and two single
sided DIMMs are used. This limitation of the 815 chipset is
not MSI's fault though; all 815 boards have this limitation.
of the 815 may not be able to topple the old BX, but it does
stand up well against the VIA 133A. What a lot of people
experience with the VIA chipset is the low memory performance.
VIA has worked some of this out with the 133A, but it is well
behind the BX. This is where the 815 bridges the gap. The 815
gives good memory performance while still providing an
official 133MHz bus.
815 chipset also shines when it comes to stability. The board
is so stable in fact that it makes overclocking very easy.
After having to purchase my own FC-PGA Pentium III 650E CPU
for this review, I was eager to see where the MSI 815E Pro
could take this CPU. With the 1/2 AGP divider, this can make
overclocking much easier than with the BX. The MSI 815E Pro
has jumpers positioned on the right side of the CPU socket
that defines weather the CPU is running on a 66MHz, 100MHz, or
a 133MHz bus.
would have been nice to see this feature in the BIOS, but the
jumpers are easy to use too. After initial testing at the
default clock speed of 650MHz I set the bus to 133MHz for a
total clock speed of 866MHz.
proved to be a stable speed, so I was on to 910MHz with a
140MHz bus. I was also happy to see that this speed was
stable. Now, I was on for the big overclocks. I set the bus
speed to 150MHz with a voltage raise to 1.8 volts, and I was
greeted with 975MHz. I figured that there would be problems
running at such a high overclock, but the system still
began to get greedy after that, so I raised the voltage to
1.85 volts and a bus speed of 155MHz. After setting that, the
system wouldn't post at all, but the odd thing was that it
would boot up fine with a voltage of 1.8 volts. Well, it turns
out that MSI doesn't allow for a voltage over 10% with this
board. If it detects a voltage over 10% of the default core
voltage, it refuses to initialize the CPU. On a plus side
though, the CPU was stable at 1008MHz with 1.8 volts. This was
with a stick of 128MB EMS HSDRAM at 155MHz with timings at
3-2-2. I was very impressed to see this board run so stable at
such a high overclock.
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