VIA KT333 Put To The Test: 18 Motherboards Compared

Dilemma Of The VIA KT333: Still No USB 2.0 Support

To get to the point: all 18 motherboards in the test bed were indeed equipped with the VIA KT333 chipset, but the USB 2.0 function has not yet been integrated in the Southbridge of the chipset. In practical terms, this means that pins of the Northbridge and the Southbridge of its predecessor, VIA KT266A, are compatible to the KT333, so a new board layout is not required. However, in order to enable USB 2.0 functionality, an additional chip must be placed on the board, since the latest VIA Southbridge, the VT8233A, does not offer this feature yet. In any case, this modification involves a completely new motherboard design. Numerous manufacturers represented in this comparison have adapted the design in order to make room for the USB 2.0 chips or other features such as RAID, network, FireWire or sound functionality.

Comparison: VIA KT333 Vs. KT266A

Chipset VIA Apollo KT333 VIA Apollo KT266A VIA Apollo KT266 Nvidia nForce
Introduction February 2002 September 2001 April 2001 September 2001
Platform Socket 462 Socket 462 Socket 462 Socket 462
Supported processors AMD Duron/Athlon/XP AMD Duron/Athlon/XP AMD Duron/Athlon/XP AMD Duron/Athlon/XP
Multi-processor support no no no no
Northbridge VIA KT333 VIA KT266A VIA VT8366 Nvidia IGP 128
Southbridge VIA VT8233A VIA VT8233 VIA VT8233 Nvidia MCP-D
Front Side Bus clock 100/133/166 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR
Memory clock 100/133/166 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR
Asynchronous memory clock yes yes yes yes
FSB overclocking up to 230 MHz up to 200 MHz up to 200 MHz up to 150 MHz
Max. # DIMM slots 4 4 4 3
Max. memory 3072 MB 3072 MB 3072 MB 4096 MB
SDRAM support yes yes yes no
DDR SDRAM support yes yes yes yes
Dual-channel DDR support no no no yes
RDRAM support (Rambus) no no no no
Ultra-DMA/33/66/100/133 yes/yes/yes/yes yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no
# USB connectors 6 6 6 6
Max. # PCI slots 6 6 6 6
integrated graphics core no no no yes
integrated sound yes yes yes yes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4x / 8x yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no
ACPI supported yes yes yes yes
USB 2.0 support yes no no no
Chipset AMD 760 SiS 735 ALi Magik 1
Introduction February 2001 May 2001 February 2001
Platform Socket 462 Socket 462 Socket 462
Supported processors AMD Duron/Athlon/XP AMD Duron/Athlon/XP AMD Duron/Athlon/XP
Multi-processor support no no no
Northbridge AMD 761 SiS 735 ALi M1647
Southbridge AMD 765 integrated ALi M1535D+
Front Side Bus clock 100/133 MHz DDR 66/100/133 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR
Memory clock 100/133 MHz DDR 66/100/133 MHz DDR 100/133 MHz DDR
Asynchronous memory clock yes yes yes
FSB overclocking up to 150 MHz up to 150 MHz up to 150 MHz
Max. # DIMM slots 4 3 4
Max. memory 2048 MB 1536 MB 1024 MB
SDRAM support no yes yes
DDR SDRAM support yes yes yes
Dual-channel DDR support no no no
RDRAM support (Rambus) no no no
Ultra-DMA/33/66/100/133 yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no
# USB connectors 4 6 6
Max. # PCI slots 4 6 6
integrated graphics core no no no
integrated sound yes yes yes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4x / 8x yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no yes/yes/yes/no
ACPI supported yes yes yes
USB 2.0 support no no no

Essentially, VIA had just made the big step from KT266 to KT266A: through the introduction and optimization of the memory interface, this chipset gained significantly in performance. This fact was proved in our previous test DDR333 For Athlon: VIA KT333 vs. KT266A . For the VIA KT333, this means that only the memory clock was increased from 133 MHz to 166 MHz for DDR333. An Ultra DMA/133 feature was added, for which Maxtor is the only one to offer hard disks that correspond to this transfer protocol. Currently, there are disks with a data capacity of 160 GB and an ATA/133 interface. The mechanics are the same, so the well-known Ultra DMA 66 cable with 80 pins (an increased number of grounded pins) can continue to be used.

The table above lists all of the chipsets that are currently available for the AMD platform (Socket 462) with DDR SDRAM support. Older chipsets with SDRAM support (such as the VIA KT133A) are not included here, because boards with these chips haven't been produced for a while now, or are no longer available on the market.

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