VIA KT133A or AMD 760?
Rival DDR chipset manufacturers put head to head by Anand
If you scan various archives on the Internet for the last two months since the official release of AMD's 760 motherboard chipset, you will find very little information about where to buy motherboards with the chipset integrated. The reason for this is that there are only very limited quantities, and because of the price premium on DDR RAM (and the fact that very few companies supply it) nobody seems to want a piece of the action. The other reason is that the performance increase in choosing the higher spec'd motherboard (about 10%) isn't enough for some people. ALi's recently released MAGiK1 chipset isn't mature enough to offer much of an improvement either, and of course, the price differential is enormous when taking the RAM purchase into account. So where does VIA's KT133A chipset fit in? It's not their fabled DDR KM266, which will be the hardcore DDR chipset (and we suspect the precursor to new Socket A motherboard releases from both ABit and ASUS). The idea with the KT133A, rather like the old Appollo 133A is to extend current technology to take advantage of new advances. In this case, it's a KT chipset that supports the higher memory bus. A fancy go-between, if ever there was one. The question is, as Anand puts it in his provocative review of the latter, "how effective can the 266MHz FSB be if the KT133A chipset is still limited to the PC133 SDRAM support of its predecessor?" His latest review, of the KT133A chipset, raises plenty of valid points and provides some interesting benchmarks of the new chipset. His conclusions, that the KT133A provides 90% of the improvements of the AMD 760 without the added cost of DDR RAM, will no doubt meet with fierce debate, but his article does make a lot of sense. If you're the owner of an Athlon system and fancy an upgrade, you might like to hold out until the world has made its mind up on VIA's new chipset. Until then, we invite you to mull over Anand's thoughts.