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THE MSI MS-6167 ATHLON MOTHERBOARD
Last updated: 11/23/99

QUALITY.  I counted 33 105C electrolytic and saw no tear-drop tantalums capacitors.   There are many more bypass, etc. capacitors all over the board. 

Masking and wave soldering are good.  Trace and ground plane layout is quite professional.

Silk screening is fairly good, but is lacking where it most needed.  The labeling of front panel header is confusing.  I had to refer to the Motherboard Book to plug-in the cables.  The pins are not labeled on the CMOS discharge jumper.

The DIMM sockets are of good quality with gold-plated contacts.

One measure or quality, the most important, is stability.  This board employs a new CPU with a new chipset and runs faster than any other board I've seen, yet it is one of the most stable motherboards I've encountered.  It is as stable with 650 Mhz Athlon as the Abit Bh6 and the Epox MVP3G2 are with slower processors.

LAYOUT.  The MS-6167 has a superb layout. The CPU socket (and fan) is located well out of the way of properly tied cables and right where hot air above it will be sucked into the power supply out of an AOpen HX45A case and right in front and below the optional rear fan in an Antec KS282 case. The Northbridge has a green heat sink and is located in front of the CPU.  The Southbridge is just below the 3rd and 4th PCI slots. 

The ATX power connector is to right front of the Northbridge and the DIMM memory sockets are right behind it. The floppy and hard disk cable connectors are behind the DIMM sockets and along the right front of the motherboard.  The sockets and all of the connectors are in good locations and are easy to get at in the computer cases I use.  Unlike most other motherboards, the floppy disk cable plugs into this motherboard in the opposite direction (pin 1 to the right) of the hard disk cables (pin 1 to the left).

The front panel, IR, and USB headers are at the left front of the board where they are very easy to see and work with.  The clock battery and CMOS jumper are at the front of the first ISA expansion board connector and are readily accessible.

The board has a small, built-in buzzer located to right and aft of the BIOS flash memory chip, which located at the front right corner of the board.  It may substitute for the speaker which comes with most computer cases.  The board comes with it jumpered on.  The jumper is on the middle pins of the four pins of speaker portion of the front panel header.

CPU SUPPORT.  The Motherboard Book states that the MS-6167 will "support 500 Mhz, 550 Mhz, 600Mhz, and higher processor (sic)."  The specifications (below) state that it will "Support 500MHz or higher processor."  I have extensively tested it with a 650 Mhz Athlon and so has AMD.  It supports a 650 Mhz processor and, considering its stability at 650 Mhz, will probably will go higher.

MEMORY.  The motherboard does not have cache' memory external to the fully-tagged, 512 Kbytes of L2 cache' in the CPU.    It seems to me at the price one pays for this board, MSI should have stuck more cache' on the motherboard.  The Northbridge memory controller will support up to eight MBytes (partially tagged).  The three DIMM sockets will take up to a total of 768 MBytes of unbuffered PC-100 memory.

JUMPERS.  The MS-6167 is a "jumperless" motherboard.  Well, there are actually two of them: CMOS discharge and motherboard buzzer/external speaker.  Furthermore, there is not much in the way of CPU plug 'n play in the CMOS Setup, just OPTIMAL and 'not so optimal' (I can't remember what the second one was, but one would not change it from the default.  There are no CPU voltage, multiplier, or voltage settings in the setup or jumpers for these settings on the motherboard.  Just run the CPU as is.)

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