DDR-SDRAM Has Finally Arrived


What would this new memory type be if there weren't any chipsets to support it? Today AMD released its AMD760 chipset, which main new feature is the DDR-SDRAM support. VIA is also close to its release of the Apollo Pro266 DDR-chipset for Pentium III and Celeron. We had the chance to look at motherboards with both chipsets and were able to put them through a series of tests.

Let's have a quick look at a comparison table with the two and Intel's i815 :

Chipset VIA Apollo Pro 266 AMD 760 Intel 815E
Launch October 2000 November 2000 June 2000
Slot / Socket Slot 1, Socket 370 Socket 462 Socket 370
Supported CPUs Intel Celeron I/II, Intel Pentium II/III, VIA Cyrix III AMD Athlon, AMD Duron Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium III
CPU Clock Range 266 - 1500 MHz 500 - 1500 MHz 266 - 1500 MHz
Multi Processor Support? No Yes
Only 760MP = AMD762
Northbridge VIA VT8633 (BGA) AMD 761 (BGA) Intel 82815 (BGA)
Southbridge VIA VT8233 (BGA) AMD 766 (BGA) Intel 82801 BA (BGA)
FSB Clock 66/100/133 MHz 66/100/133 MHz 66/100/133 MHz
Memory Clock 66/100/133 MHz DDR 66/100/133 MHz DDR 66/100/133 MHz
Asynchronous Memory/FSB Support? Yes Yes Yes
max. Memory 4096 MB 4096 MB 512 MB
DDR-SDRAM-Support Yes Yes No
VC-SDRAM-Support Yes No No
RIMM-Support (RDRAM) No No No
Ultra-DMA/33/66/100 yes/yes/yes yes/yes/yes yes/yes/yes
USB-Ports 6 6 4
Max. PCI-Slots 6 6 6
Available IRQs for PCI 5 6 6
Integrated Graphics No No Yes
AGP-Slot Yes Yes Yes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4x yes / yes / yes yes / yes / yes yes / yes / yes
ACPI-Features yes yes yes
Price ca. 38 Dollar ca. 35 Dollar ca. 43 Dollar

AMD's 760 Chipset

Today AMD announced the single-processor version of its AMD760 chipset. The SMP version is expected early next year.

It is pretty well known that AMD isn't really interested in the chipset business, but there wasn't much of a choice for the Sunnyvale-based chipmaker if Athlon and Duron were supposed to get a DDR-platform anytime soon. Although VIA is supposed to have a strong partnership with AMD, the Taiwanese chipset manufacturer is known to prefer releasing new technologies for their Intel-platforms first, simply because there are still more customers with Celeron and Pentium processors out there than Athlon or Duron owners.

Except for the old-fashioned PCI bus connection between the AMD761 Northbridge and the AMD766 Southbridge, AMD put a lot of the latest technologies into AMD760, so it's not at all as obsolete as AMD750 was at its release date last year.

One of the most important new features of AMD760 is the support of 133 MHz front side bus. This increases the data transfer bandwidth of Athlon's bus from 1.6 GB/s to 2.1 GB/s, which makes perfect sense, because PC266/PC2100 DDR-SDRAM can supply data at 2.1 GB/s as well. The only other noteworthy new feature of AMD760 is the ATA100-support. All the other specs are listed in the table above.

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