The 3 DIMM slot memory setup is carried over from the Fester reference design and is the same that we seen on all AMD 750 motherboards. The only complaint we have here is the positioning of the ATX Power Supply connector between the Slot-A connector and the DIMM slots. By placing the ATX Power Supply connector here, larger heatsink/fan combos will have problems being used in this space. You have about 2.25" (~5.7 cm) of space to work with here, which is fine for most cooling devices but some of the more extreme units may have troubles fitting in these cramped quarters.

The voltage regulator setup is also modified from the Fester design that we've found to be extremely stable. Fortunately, MSI didn't break anything as the K7 Pro was also extremely stable. Seven 1500uF and three 2200 uF capacitors contribute to the high level of stability. A feature that we first saw on the BXMaster was MSI's D-LED, which can help diagnose a dead system, is also found on the K7Pro.

From there, the most useful changes can be found in the BIOS, which is based on the AMI Simple Setup 1.21a. The "simple" setup is nothing more than a clone of the Award BIOS that is so popular in the industry. All the tweaking options that we've come to expect from Award are included in this BIOS as well. The option to enable SuperBypass is available as long as the chipset on your particular board is the proper revision. MSI's implementation is a bit strange - you'll have to disable automatic memory timings from SPD and tweak them yourself in order to allow SuperBypass to be enabled.

But that's not the useful part of the change. MSI has implemented a very flexible set of FSB speeds. The odd 90 and 95 MHz DDR speeds are still there but are not particularly useful, but the settings from 100 - 125 MHz DDR in 1 MHz increments can really help when trying to get the most out of an overclocked Athlon. Three more speeds, 133 / 140 / 150, are also available. However, we have yet to see an Athlon motherboard run stable at any speed over 110MHz DDR FSB frequency. Combine the FSB speed flexibility with a golden fingers device and the K7 Pro quickly becomes the most powerful Athlon overclocking motherboard yet. If you're not using a golden fingers device for overclocking, the K7Pro also features core voltage adjustments in the BIOS as well. Settings include 1.40V - 1.75V in 0.5V increments.

Hardware monitoring is provided by the same Winbond 83782D that we've seen on almost every Athlon motherboard out there. All critical system voltages and three fan speeds are all monitored. Since the Athlon does not feature an on-die thermal diode, a thermistor is mounted under the CPU to monitors its temperature.

The typical MSI manual ships with the K7Pro, which means that it lacks details on installing a motherboard, but is otherwise pretty good for the experienced user, and includes information on all connector pin outs as well as the various BIOS settings.

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