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VIA was one of the sponsors of this year’s, and last year’s Quakecon. They had quite a bit showing at their booth and we had some interesting discussions as well.

VIA had several Athlon64 platform motherboards on display at the show. This first one below is a reference motherboard with an Athlon64 754-pin processor running at 1.8 GHz and an NVIDIA 5900 Ultra graphics card. The benchmark numbers were pretty impressive as well.

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Besides their reference motherboard, VIA brought along of a couple of retail motherboards to show me as well. Below is a Gigabyte motherboard, the K8VNX. As you can see it has Serial ATA and IDE RAID options, three memory slots, Realtek 6-channel audio, dual network ports, the 4-pin ATX power connector seen on some recent Athlon XP motherboards and all the Pentium 4 boards, as well as their custom GPS custom power system (to the left of the CPU socket).

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This motherboard is the MSI K8TN (I believe). The MSI board uses the VIA 8237 south bridge for Serial ATA RAID capability and a Promise SATA chipset as well for a total of 4 SATA channels! This is the first time I have seen this on an enthusiast motherboard and should certainly make MSI’s solution stand out from the crowd. It also has three DIMM slots, on board LAN and 6-channel audio with a SPDIF and composite audio output built onto the external headers of the motherboard. This board should be one of the best of the lot when the Athlon64 finally launches in September.

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Finally, VIA was showing off their own dual-processor Opteron chipset motherboard, this one pictured from MSI. While I didn’t get any numbers from it initially that I can share, they were very impressive, once the board was finally fixed up. The drawback to use the 940-pin Opteron CPU is the need for registered memory, which can hold the performance back just slightly.

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