VIA release bug-fixing driver
Move along! There's been nothing to see here!
Although the VIA 686B southbridge issue has been in the press a lot recently, we're starting to see a lot of scare stories that simply don't make sense. For instance, when VIA released their latest service pack yesterday (4-in-1 version 4.31), people were standing on the sidelines crying "I'm affected too and I'm using xxx chipset! I need a fix too!" Lets consider the actual problem here. From what VIA have said, we can be assured that it affects the 686B southbridge chip, which appears on all KT133 / KT133A motherboards and a number of others (e.g. ASUS' A7M266 DDR board, which uses the AMD761 northbridge and VIA 686B southbridge). The symptoms of the problem are large transfers of >100Mb between two IDE hard disks on alternate controllers failing, but not corrupting data. The problem is aggravated by the presence of a Soundblaster Live! in the system. Some say a specific model. According to VIA again, it is an Athlon motherboard issue, and others are not affected. But VIA have now fixed this in their latest service pack. Hell, this writer has confirmed that the service pack fixes the issue on the three 686B-based motherboards here. So what's left to complain about? This article at Realworldtech draws attention to the problem on non-686B boards. True, most reports of problems have been from KT133(A) and 686B users, but apparently the writer was able to reproduce the problem on some 686A motherboards and even a 694X board. The forums on VIAHardware.com amongst others are heavy with reports of errors on non-686B boards as well. It all seems very conspiratorial, but VIA are keeping schtum. There are no problems on our KX133 (ASUS K7V) board here, which features the 686A, and our KT133 system, which did exhibit problems was fixed by the 4.31 service pack. Are users taking this latest problem and using it to try and justify the misconfigurations and muddled computers they work with? Perhaps, perhaps not. Ultimately one has to suspect this is not the last we'll hear of the 686B problem. Related Feature - VIA acknowledge problem