VIA's Apollo KX133 Chipset and Windows2000


Frank Voelkel, our new motherboard specialist, who made himself a big name as one of the best motherboard reviewers already when he was still working for the German PC Professionell Magazine, was close to losing his believe in technology when he started to test the KX133-motherboards under Windows 2000. The majority of those new Athlon motherboards would fail to start or run Windows 2000 sooner or later, or the systems showed mediocre performance. One of the main reasons for this issue is the 'viaagp.sys' AGP-driver that comes with Windows2000, which is not exactly very stable or reliable.

After a lot of moaning and groaning we finally received some help in form of a new 'viaagp.sys ' file, which came from Asus of course - talking about good customer support. One would have expected it from VIA instead really. You install it by starting Windows 2000 in safe mode (press F8 at the first screen of Win2k's bootup process). Boot into safe mode, locate the old 'viaagp.sys' in the directory 'winnt\system32\drivers\', rename it to e.g. 'viaagp.sys.old' and copy the new 'viaagp.sys' in this directory. This new AGP-driver remedied a lot of our problems. Systems that didn't want to start Windows2000 once NVIDIA's latest 5.xx drivers were installed were suddenly able to reach the desktop and systems that crashed continuously became a lot more stable.

... VIA Is Working On It

I am sure you will agree that the situation for owners of Athlon-platforms with VIA's Apollo KX133 chipset that want to run Windows2000 is still very far from ideal. What we all should expect is a flawless and painless installation under Windows2000 that doesn't require any tricks to enable the AGP. In plain English this means that VIA has got to supply a Win2k AGP driver installation software for KX133 instead of falsely claiming that KX133-support is already built into Windows2000. Throwing in a STABLE AGP-driver as well would give this procedure an even nicer touch ...