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The circumstances surrounding the KT400A chipset are interesting indeed. There is little doubt that had the Athlon 64 processor stayed on its original schedule and been released this April, that the KT400A would never have seen the light of day. The K8T400M chipset for the Athlon 64 has been primed and ready to go for some time, and AMD’s delays have caused everyone, VIA, NVIDIA, SIS and others to take action. VIA would have been more than happy skipping out on the KT400A and to start selling the chipset that has been their R&D target for so long, but with the release of the Barton processors from AMD, the chipset and motherboard companies are forced to add an additional 10 months or so to their Athlon XP plans.

I am sure that the KT400A chipset will become a success, compared to other Socket A chipsets, for the remainder of the processors life. But how successful can a chipset be for an architecture that already has a marked grave? VIA has more partners in the industry than nearly any other company, so motherboards will be made and then sold to consumers – the quantity of these sales it has lies up in the air and depends solely on what the enthusiasts that push this market do, where they decide to spend their money. Are you or should you be willing to shell out for a new processor or motherboard or memory based on the Athlon XP processors? To say nothing else, it is a highly debatable subject.

The technical aspects of this chipset are a success already – VIA was able to compete solidly with NVIDIA’s chipset once again. Like I mentioned earlier in the article, because this was a comparison between the first reference board of the KT400A and the best performing retail nForce2 motherboard, expect the retail boards based on the KT400A to perform slight better and maybe overtake the nForce2 chipset on more marks.

If you were wondering about the overclocking ability of the chipset, I don’t have any results for you yet. The references boards weren’t hear long enough for me to get into that part of my testing. We are going to have to wait to try overclocking some retail boards to see how that pans out.

Overall, I see the KT400A chipset being a solid and needed addition to VIA’s line of Socket A chipsets. It offers a good increase in performance over its predecessor and places VIA once again in the light of a performance chipset manufacturer. How well it, or the nForce2 or SiS 746FX chipsets catch on with those that spend the money, will be seen in months to come.

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