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

SLOTS.  The MS-6167 has the popular 1/5/2 AGP/PCI/ISA expansion board slot configuration.  Contrary to previous motherboard reviews I have written, I am finding, as time goes by, that two ISA and five PCI slots (with one of each shared) is now the best compromise for the available motherboard real state and that the days of the ISA bus are about to end.  However, I choose this motherboard over others that were available at the time because it did have two ISA slots and other candidates had fewer.

I/O  There are PS/2 keyboard, PS/2 mouse, 1 printer, two serial, and two USB ports along the back of the motherboard (the A.3.a, Intel "Universal, "configuration matches all of the ATX cases I have reviewed).  The MS-6167 supports four USB ports.  Two of them are taken to the exterior of the case by the I/O back panel.  The other two are available from a header on the front of the motherboard and would require a USB cable and bracket set, which is not supplied with the motherboard, to use.

HARDWARE MONITORING.  This motherboard has no hardware monitoring chip.  In my considered opinion this is a cheap shot for an expensive, high-end motherboard. This board needs heat and fan monitoring.  The computer I built with it has five fans counting the one on the Diamond viper V770 Ultra graphics board.

IN THE BOX  The motherboard is attractively packed in a retail box.  It comes with a motherboard book (User's Manual), ATA/66 cable, floppy cable, CPU and heat sink restraining hardware, CD with software, and, surprisingly, an ATA/33 cable for your DVD or CD-ROM drive.

USER MANUAL.  The user manual is typical and has some inaccuracies.  The pictures of SIMM installation are backwards unless one were to install the memory from the back of the computer.  The CMOS Jumper instructions are confusing.  Etc.

INSTALLATION  I will cover this shortly in a series of articles on how to build a computer with this motherboard.  The first draft has been written.

PERFORMANCE  If you are looking for the ultimate game machine this motherboard plus an Athlon packs one heck of a punch.  Winstone 99 testing scored 27.1, the WinTune 98 floating point test registered 803 Mflops, and the Quake 3 demo ran as high as 51.3 fps.  Put a 7,200 RPM drive like the Western Digital WD273BA in a computer with this motherboard and you will see ATA/66.  Click here for all of the benchmarks.

MSI WEB SITE.  You won't find much on the MS-6167 at MSI's web sites.  There is virtually no promotion material for this fine product whatsoever--not even a news release.  There is no downloadable Motherboard Book.  If you look hard (see links below) you can find a BIOS update and an interesting Test document.  The explanation I received from MSI via E-Mail is quoted as follows:

"Hi! For some reasons, MS-6167 could not be released on our www..."

I could guess at a reason and one of the reasons the board costs so much, but I choose not to contribute to rumors.

AVAILABILITY.  This board is readily available albeit hidden from promotion. One of my readers found four sources for it.

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