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   Review : MSI MS-6905 Master Socket-370 to Slot-1 Adapter »  


MSI MS-6905 Master Socket-370 to Slot-1 Adapter - Preamble
 Date  : Aug 29th, 2000
 Category  : CPU
 Manufacturer   : MSI
 Author  : Jin-Wei Tioh
The release of Intel's 400MHz Celeron also saw the debut of the Socket-370 platform. Since the S-370's debut, it has become a more popular platform for Intel to launch their processors. The advantage compared to the already entrenched Slot-1 market? Intel cites lower manufacturing costs and motherboard makers are now able to save valuable PCB space. For the consumer it would make sense to adopt the S-370 format, since the S-370 platform is now Intel's launch pad for new and improved processors, such as the Pentium III 500E & 550E.

However, good S-370 boards (such as the Tyan Trinity 371 and Trinity 400) are just starting to appear. The only widely available S-370 motherboards are those that are based on Intel's i810 chipset, which does away with the AGP and several PCI slots, adding in integrated AGP video, the AC97 sound codec, and an AMR slot. This severely limits the end user's expansion options, not to mention the maximum performance he/she can get out of the PC. So the only real solutions are the good old Slot-1 440BX-based or VIA Apollo Pro 133A-based motherboards. Hence, the SlotKet was invented, which allowed consumers to run a S-370 chip on a Slot-1 motherboard.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

Unfortunately, Intel made some modifications to the S-370's pin layout for the new Pentium III E line of processors. Specifically, the new pin layout required a S-370 motherboard (and hence, SlotKets) to adhere to the new VRM 8.4 standard. Once again, only i810-based boards adhered to this standard, and VRM 8.4 compatible motherboards from other manufacturers were nowhere to be seen. The solution? SlotKet manufacturers came up with revised products, which allow older VRM 8.2 processors (eg. the 500MHz Celeron) and newer VRM 8.4 processors (eg. the Pentium III 550E) to be run on any Slot-1 motherboard, as long as the motherboard in question supported the correct voltage requirements (1.60V), and had a BIOS that could recognize the new processor.

BlueSmoke recently acquired 2 units of Micro-Star International's MS-6905 Master, which is one such product. MSI is one of two major manufacturers that has a revised SlotKet product. Please note, MSI's MS-6905 Master is not to be confused with their MS-6905, ie. if you want FC-PGA / VRM 8.4 support, you have to get the Master edition. Unlike some cheaper SlotKets, the MS-6905 Master comes with a half-open Slot-1 plastic housing. This ensures that the SlotKet will not go loose. Otherwise, the system might experience numerous problems, such as sudden reboots, failed boot-ups and generally temperamental behaviour. Additionally, end users should not have to worry about any obstructions to the heatsink, as there is about 1cm of clearance on either side of the SlotKet.

Click to enlarge

The MS-6905 Master also has aesthetics going for it in the form of a nice hologram sticker at the back, which sports the MSI logo, the MSI motto and the name of the product.

Finally, BlueSmoke would like to explain the jumper settings on the MS-6905 Master, as the only copy of the instructions is on the product box itself (which someone may have unknowingly tossed into the trash bin). The MSI adapter has plenty of jumpers to allow optimal customization for overclocking scenarios, which is described in the specification table. In short, if you are particular about the components in your system, then you would appreciate the MS-6905 Master, which is widely acknowledged as one of the better SlotKet products on the market, and can sometimes be purchased at a lower price than other comparable, if not sometimes inferior products.

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