The MS-6167 motherboard is the first MSI product we have had the opportunity to evaluate, and the experience has been a good one. As it turns out, MSI has recently moved into the #2 sales spot for all 3rd party motherboard manufacturers, so a good quality product from them should not surprise us.
Most people probably still remember the unfortunate problems that the first MS-6167 boards experienced back in August. One of the biggest issues with motherboard manufacturers today is the low prices and low profit margins for these items. Most upgraders have come to expect motherboards that cost little more than $100 USD, but the first Athlon boards were much more expensive than this, due to the 6-layer PCB and additional electronics necessary to handle the higher power dissipation of the processor. The result of this was that all of the manufacturers attempted to keep their costs as low as possible, causing a number of stability issues to raise their ugly heads – and MSI was not the only company that ran into this.
Fortunately, MSI has apparently overcome the initial problems and has produced an Athlon motherboard that is very nice, indeed. The limited number of Athlon boards available tends to lessen the value of any claims of ‘best Athlon board’, however between this and the only other Athlon product we’ve tested (the FIC SD-11), this one must be considered the better product, as you will see. Also of note is the use of the AMD Viper 756 South Bridge, which supports UDMA/66.
Our test system included an MSI MS-6167, Athlon 500MHz processor, 128MB PC133 SDRAM (several manufacturers), W.D 8.4GB UDMA/66 HDD, a Matrox Millenium PCI card (8MB) and a Voodoo3 3000 AGP card (16MB). Tests with SCSI equipment included an Adaptec AHA-2940UW and Domex 3192U adapters (both PCI), Quantum 540MB SCSI-1 HDD and Toshiba TA5401B 4x CDROM.
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