12 Socket 370 Motherboards using VIA's Apollo Pro 133A

IWill VD133 Pro

Board Revision: 1.2

BIOS Version: 34231A (March 6, 2000)

The Slot-1 motherboard VD133 makes use of the older 693A chipset, while this Socket 370 model called VD133 Pro comes with the Socket 370. It is equipped with three DIMM sockets for up to 1.5 GBytes SDRAM, five PCI slots and the AMR slot. The manual makes clear that ECC modules may be used, but the ECC function will not be available. Of course AGP 4x and UltraDMA/66 is supported as well. Wake on LAN or Modem ist also supported.

IWill included a secondary IDE controller chip, the HighPoint HPT368. Thanks to this, the board comes with two additional UltraDMA/66 ports, which can also be used in a RAID configuration. You may either use striping (RAID 0) or mirroring (RAID 1), or a combination of both. Using two or four hard drives will improve the disc subsystem's performance considerably. Still you won't benefit much as long as you don't have applications, which really need high bandwidth. That's e.g. video or audio editing.

But this RAID solution can also be useful if you should have some older hard drives. It's possible to use all of them (up to 4, of course) as one partition by spanning them. For more information about an IDE RAID system, please check the review of Promise's FastTrak66 .

Both connectors for the IDE ports 3 and 4 are situated at the very bottom of the board, which will force you to use quite long IDE cables. On the left, you will find the header for two additional USB ports. IWill did not include the corresponding cable, but at least you will get two UltraDMA/66 cables.

The complete CPU setting is done in the BIOS via IWill's Smart Setting. Here you can select FSB speeds between 66 and 166 MHz. Please take into account that the HighPoint chip won't work at FSB speeds higher than 150 MHz. The sound system comes with one line-in header; other boards feature two or even three.

I liked the almost jumper-free design, as only two jumpers are important: one for CMOS reset and another to disable the IDE RAID chip. Everything is illustrated pretty well in the manual, making the VD133 Pro an excellent featured motherboard, which is easy to handle. I was really disappointed after the benchmarks, as the IWill board was about 15% slower than most other boards in BAPCo's SYSmark 2000 suite first. After upgrading from the initial BIOS (March 6) to the latest one (April 28), performance became considerably better. The charts at the end of this article contain the benchmark results of the slower BIOS. Please check the latest VIA Motherboard round up for the latest results, as they make this great featured board quite interesting now.