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VIA KT333 in the test: EPoX 8K3A + against MSI KT3 Ultra ARU

VIA KT333 in the test: EPoX 8K3A + against MSI KT3 Ultra ARU

Table of contents
  1. 1 Introduction
  2. Addendum: Elitegroup K7S6A
  3. Are you spoiled for choice?
  4. 2 EPoX 8K3A +
    1. Scope of delivery & documentation
    2. Equipment/layout
    3. Bios/overclocking
  5. 3 MSI KT3 Ultra ARU
    1. Scope of delivery & documentation
    2. Equipment/Layout
    3. Bios/Overclocking
  6. 4 Test system
    1. SiSoft Sandra 2002 - Memory Test
    2. WinACE 2.11
    3. CineBench 2000
    4. 5 Quake3Arena
    5. Vulpine GLMark v1.1
    6. 6 3DMark 2000 v1.1
    7. CPUMark
    8. 3DMark 2001
  7. 7 Conclusion VIA KT333
  8. Rating EPoX 8K3A +
  9. Rating MSI KT3 Ultra (ARU)

Conclusion VIA KT333

Before we deal with the test subjects in detail, we would like to say a few words about the KT333. Because our test revealed ambiguous results. The performance clearly turned out to be a double-edged sword. The KT333 takes the lead over its predecessor KT266A over the entire benchmark course. However, this can only be achieved through the use of high-quality RAM modules, which are not only mostly difficult to obtain but also relatively expensive. Operating the KT333 with DDR266 or a bad PC2700 doesn't make much sense. If performance is clearly in the foreground without the use of very good DDR333, the KT266A or nForce is clearly the better choice. This also shows that the KT333 has not been optimized as well as the KT266A. The main focus at VIA was probably more on the integration of DDR333 support, which, under optimalConditions that help boards achieve the top spot. The fact that the KT333 with DDR266 works much slower than its predecessor can only be traced back to half-hearted work.

For whom is the switch to the KT333 advisable? Certainly not for owners of a KT266A or nForce board. Equipped with the right memory, such boards can not only stand up to the latest VIA offspring, but often even take the lead. In the end, we would not advise any owner of a board with DDR-RAM support to switch for speed reasons. The cost/benefit factor is simply too low.

However, anyone who is currently considering replacing their scrap-ripe PC with a brand new model with maximum performance can go for a board with KT333. Provided that he uses the right memory, the AMD CPU is provided with the currently fastest basis. The quality of the two boards we tested is beyond any doubt.

Finally, maybe a resume on the subject of memory. As in the review of the ECS Elitegroup K7S6A, it turned out that the PC2700 (DDR333) on the AMD platform is ultimately nothing more than a huge marketing campaign. Without the simultaneous, synchronous increase in the FSB, the theoretical additional power practically fizzles out. The generation of chipsets with asynchronous clock ratios of 133/166 could have been saved, if you looked at it soberly. Especially since the chip does not have a groundbreaking new feature.

Evaluation EPoX 8K3A +

No question: With the 8K3A + EPoX has again succeeded in a very fast, stable and well-equipped mainboard. The board is almost consistently ahead of its competition from MSI in terms of speed, and no real defects were found during the longer test phase. But we were closedAt the beginning of the review we talked about a possible successor to the 8KHA + (KT266A), we would now prefer to speak of an alternative. As already noted in the conclusion to the VIA KT333, the change from KT266 (A) to KT333 is only worthwhile in the rarest of cases, so that other features should be decisive for the purchase. If you have the money for a high-quality PC2700 in addition to the desire for very good performance and do not want to do without Raid, you will definitely go for the 8K3A +. Users who do not value OnBoard Raid, because the 'predecessor does not offer', should forego a few tenths of a frame speed, save on memory and be happy with DDR266 on the 8KHA +. Nevertheless, the 8K3A + can call itself not only the fastest Socket-A board under the most optimal conditions, but also the new front-runner in our mainboard rankings. At least here the 8KHA + has found its worthy successor in the 8K3A +.

EPoX 8K3A +
  • Fastest socket A board (depending on memory)
  • Stability
  • Overclocking
  • Price
  • Scope of delivery
  • Six PCI slots
  • passively cooled
  • No USB 2.0 OnBoard

Rating MSI KT3 Ultra (ARU)

The MSI KT3 Ultra (ARU) can also safely be called a very good board. Although the performance does not quite reach that of the 8K3A +, the stability was just as impeccable. Solely the very picky behavior of the board in the choice of memory should be mentioned here as a negative aspect. A more conservative clock paired with the acceptance of the CL 2.0 setting would certainly have brought the same performance and saved a lot of trouble. Owners of a CL2.0 module should certainly not be happy if their beloved RAM is running at full speed unnoticed, but only on in the BIOS'Sparflamme' is clocked with CL2.5. The aforementioned chipset criteria naturally also apply to the purchase decision. But which board for which type of buyer? While the versions 8K3A and KT3 Ultra are ultimately only in the support of the Bluetooth standard, optionally selected by MSI, fans of Raid and USB 2.0 only have the option of the KT3 Ultra ARU. Provided that an additional card with USB 2.0 support is not required. In the end, however, everyone has to decide for themselves which, perhaps minimal, difference is ultimately decisive for the agony of choice.

MSI KT3 Ultra ARU
  • Stability
  • Equipment
  • USB 2.0
  • Option on Bluetooth
  • Service
  • CNR slot
  • actively cooled
  • quite expensive

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