Conclusions and Recommendations
The MS-6167 is an excellent candidate for anyone looking to build an Athlon based system. It is obvious that MSI and AMD have fixed all of the board and chipset issues that plagued the early offerings, and the excellent layout and engineering leave us wanting to see more MSI motherboards. Unfortunately, MSI does not appear to have aggressive marketing plans for this product, but it should be readily available from a number of vendors.
The overclocking crowd may not be enthralled with this motherboard, as it has no options for changing the memory bus speed, however very few but the most speed hungry users will need anything more than the 700MHz Athlon that this board will support, even with a ‘mere’ 100MHz memory bus.
With the cost of the ‘slower’ Athlons (600MHz and under) now in the $300 range, or less, even the average home user or small business may wish to take advantage of the performance benefits that this platform offers. As shown by evaluations on numerous websites (with our favorite being the one done by Ace’s Hardware), the Athlon is every bit as fast as an Intel based system of the same clock speed, giving buyers of mid-range systems a true competitive choice.
Vendors and systems integrators should find this to be a reliable product, with a probable failure rate no higher than the industry standard. Of course, time in the field will tell the actual tale here, but we have seen no obvious issues that would cause excessive grief.
Based upon our tests, we have the following set of recommendations:
- Due to a fixed 100MHz memory bus speed, PC100 memory will be more than sufficient. There should be no need to purchase slightly more expensive PC133, unless the plan is to upgrade to a 133MHz based system within the next 6 months. However, it is always a good idea to use quality, brand-name modules, despite what you might hear from many ‘experts’. Cheap memory is the number one cause of system problems – bar none!
- *Good case cooling is recommended, as with any of the AMD 750 based boards, to reduce chances of heat-related stability issues. The Athlon dissipates a lot of power, and the chipset heatsink can get quite warm as well.
- Unless you are very familiar with your memory, and the various timings only the ‘Optimal’ and ‘Fail Safe’ defaults should be used in the BIOS for the memory timings.
- Use a recommended power supply, preferably not the Antec 250W, as we have heard reports that this particular PS might not be sufficient, resulting in some stability issues.
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