5 New SocketA Boards With UltraATA/100

Tuned Engine With Some Trouble Inside?

Since the introduction of the successful Apollo KT133 chipset made for Duron and Athlon CPUs we had to wait a long time for a feature that is supported by Intel platforms since June 2000 - UltraATA/100 for hard disks. Until now the KT133, also known as VT8363, only supported UltraATA/66 using the south bridge VT82C686A . Now VIA finally started shipping the new south bridge VT82C686B . This chip is pin-compatible to the 'A'-version and can therefore fully replace the 686A without any major technical effort. Five new SocketA motherboards with 686B from AOpen, Biostar, Luckystar, MSI and Soltek arrived in our lab and we tested them extensively.

We would like to mention that none of those motherboards is able to support the new Athlon with 133 MHz (266 MHz DDR) FSB. This new feature will be implemented into a new league of motherboards with VIA's upcoming KT133A chipset. Those motherboards will still use PC133 SDRAM with single data rate. They will become available early next year.

Uwe Scheffel