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Serial ATA Finally Here

Affordable Alternatives: DDR400 Dual-Channel Chipsets for the Pentium 4
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The following table gives you a short overview on all four available dual-channel chipsets for DDR400 and Intel's Pentium 4.

Northbridge VIA PT880 SiS655FX
Southbridge VT8237 SiS964
FSB 800/533/400 MHz 800/533/400 MHz
Hyper Threading Support Yes yes
Memory Types DDR 400/333/266 (w/ECC) DDR 400/333
Maximum RAM 8 GB 4 GB
AGP 8x 8x
Connection Northbridge/Southbridge Ultra V-Link (1 GB/s) MuTIOL 1G, 1 GB/s
Audio AC'97 5.1 AC'97 5.1
Serial ATA 2 ports, w/ RAID 0, 1, JBOB 2 ports, w/ RAID 0, 1, JBOB
Parallel ATA UltraATA/133, 2 channels UltraATA/133, 2 channels
USB 8 USB 2.0 8 USB 2.0
Network Interface 10/100 MBit 10/100 MBit
PCI 6 slots 6 slots
Northbridge Intel 865PE Intel 875
Southbridge 82801ED 82801ER
FSB 800/533/400 MHz 800/533/400 MHz
Hyper Threading Support Yes Yes
Memory Types DDR 400/333/266 (w/ECC) DDR 400/333/266
Maximum RAM 4 GB 2 GB
AGP 8x 8x
Connection Northbridge/Southbridge Intel Hub Architecture (266 MB/s) Intel Hub Architecture (266 MB/s)
Audio AC'97 5.1 AC'97 5.1
Serial ATA optional
2 ports, w/ RAID 0, 1, JBOB
optional
2 ports, w/ RAID 0, 1, JBOB
Parallel ATA UltraATA/100, 2 channels UltraATA/100, 2 channels
USB 8 USB 2.0 8 USB 2.0
Network Interface 10/100 MBit 10/100/1000 MBit (CSA)
PCI 6 slots 6 slots

There is one feature of the new chipsets that we believe to be more important than all the common performance considerations: The presence of integrated Serial ATA controllers. Most of you are aware of this new post-UltraATA standard.

It certainly won't help us much to increase overall system performance, since today's hard drives still are clearly below the 100 MB/s of UltraATA or even 150 MB/s of Serial ATA. However, the benefits are meaningful and convenient: Cables can have a maximum length of one meter and won't disturb the airflow inside the computer. In addition, they are small and easy to handle. Since there is only one drive per connector, the master/slave hassle will finally be gone as well.

Integrated Serial ATA controllers do entail virtually no extra costs, since the development efforts are controllable and mass production usually absorbs all related costs. Integrating them makes a huge difference to drive manufacturers, as they can count on a wider basis of systems than can easily make use of their drives.

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