The Future with VIA

VIA KT400 Chipset Preview

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Even on the day of the launch of the KT333 chipset there were rumors and speculation on the KT400 chipset from VIA. Word was that the KT333 was just a stepping-stone into the greater world of the KT400 chipset that would offer the features that we were all really wanting. While this may not have proven to be exactly right, the latest VIA chipset does have a lot of offer AMD users.

The Good

The KT333 chipset was and probably is still the best performing Athlon chipset available. However, not one to sit idly on their hands and let the competition run by them, VIA has prepared the KT400 chipset as an answer to the upcoming nForce2 motherboards that will be arrive within a few weeks. VIA chipset already account for the vast majority of the AMD market, and the KT400 will only increase their reach.

There are four new features on the KT400 chipset that are worth discussing. First up, we have official 8x AGP support for the latest in graphics cards. Following the AGP 3.0 specifications, having an 8x AGP bus doubles the frequency of the bus to 533 MHz and leaves the maximum theoretical bandwidth on it at 2.1 GB/s. Of course, they are backwards compatible with AGP 4x specifications. The increase to 8x AGP technology doesn’t show a lot of performance differences as of now, but with technology and graphics cards increasing, this will change very soon.

VIA KT400 Chipset Preview - Chipsets 2

Also, VIA has upgraded their V-Link technology to also run at an 8x 533 MB/s speed. The V-Link is what connects the north bridge and south bridge for communications that do not interrupt the PCI bus. This allows their south bridge to offer more features to the end user, such as USB 2.0 and ATA133 support as default. USB 2.0 is coming on the KT400 chipset south bridge as a standard and will no longer be a special feature that you need to look for on motherboards and you can get up to 6 ports on the boards. Also, 6.1 channel audio will be a feature that the south bridge offers up and will be up to the motherboard manufacturer to decide to use it or not.

So, what was that fourth feature? Read on…

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