Youd have to be a little more specific to what mainboards you are talking about. however, i assume they mean VIA northbridge if this is the case they arent worth it. Look at Intel or NVIDIA chipsets are the best bet. Depends on what type of rig you are looking at building
If you are looking for a high end overclockable gaming rig, then look elsewhere. If you are looking for a low to mid level system they are just fine. I have this ASUS board in my backup system with a E4300, 1gb PC4200 ram, and a 7600gs card. Very solid for 3 months so far. Posted on first try. Currently runs Ubuntu 7.04 x32(I don't do Windows). http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For an Intel Based System, stay away from VIA - All of there chipsets are single channel (bar the 880).
VIA is actually the company that has given AMD a bad name for years even today for some - when people think AMD and Incompatible, it was via's fault.
I for one will never touch a VIA product after seeing alot of issue - dont get me wrong there are a few decent working sample, but still, never.
As for overheating, i can safely say thats BS - there a cooler running chipset compared to Nvidia and Intel's designs.
Another reason why i dont buy MSI - 99% is VIA and SiS based LOL
I couldn't agree more. All the VIA chips i had were a total disaster.
My latest one has the amazing ability to corrupt data on PATA HDs. The one before that was advertised as dual core compatible but wasn't as was confirmed by asus, who stopped producing that series right after they found the fault within the VIA chipset. Then there were those famous compatibility modes with VIA chips and their AGP slots - oh, i could go on and on.
I used to have a mobo with a VIA chipset - it was a Socket A MSI with a KT266A. Well, it worked. When overclocking, it had a tendency to be a bit... fickle (no reboot - complete power cycle required, and onboard USB went bye-bye when FSB got past 145 MHz).
Still, I kept the machine for years. And it worked very well indeed.
My first build was using an ECS PM800-M2 mobo with a VIA PM800 Northbridge and the infamous VIA 8237 southbridge. I never had any real problems, but it was still not near as stable or universal as the Intel 865G chipset I use now. When I'm looking to build Intel, I will try to find a third party mobo maker offering an Intel chipset. When it comes to AMD, Nvidia seems to own that market anymore. VIA is a decent third player in the market, and I prefer them over SiS, as SiS chipsets usually do run hotter than anything else out there, and the performance is just as bad as VIA. That being said, I do have a SiS chipset computer right now, for my HTPC, and it has been running flawless, even if I had to beef up the cooling on both the north and south bridges due to rampant overheating issues in factory trim.
Back before 2001 or so, VIA was a respectable name in the chipset industry. They were fairly competitive, cheaper, good performers. They gave any Intel chipset of their generation up until the i875 / 865 a good run for their money. They were better quality than competing SiS chipsets. They pushed features and good performance, for example: one board I owned for socket 370 had four ATA ports (8 channels) on-board courtesy of a built-in secondary ATA controller.
In short, VIA was respectable, and well used in the gaming sector and the regular desktop sector. Since those years though, due in large part to the nVidia nForce2 and Intel i875 chipsets for AMD and Intel respectively, VIA has been relegated to the mainstream and low-end desktop market. They release higher-end chipsets alongside their lower-end products; but for the most part, they're paid little mind over the competition between ATI, nVidia, and Intel.