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DDR-SDRAM Has Finally Arrived

DDR-Chipsets

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 :

ChipsetVIA Apollo Pro 266AMD 760Intel 815E
LaunchOctober 2000November 2000June 2000
Slot / SocketSlot 1, Socket 370Socket 462Socket 370
Supported CPUsIntel Celeron I/II, Intel Pentium II/III, VIA Cyrix IIIAMD Athlon, AMD DuronIntel Celeron, Intel Pentium III
CPU Clock Range266 - 1500 MHz500 - 1500 MHz266 - 1500 MHz
Multi Processor Support?NoYesOnly 760MP = AMD762No
NorthbridgeVIA VT8633 (BGA)AMD 761 (BGA)Intel 82815 (BGA)
SouthbridgeVIA VT8233 (BGA)AMD 766 (BGA)Intel 82801 BA (BGA)
FSB Clock66/100/133 MHz66/100/133 MHz66/100/133 MHz
Memory Clock66/100/133 MHz DDR66/100/133 MHz DDR66/100/133 MHz
Asynchronous Memory/FSB Support?YesYesYes
Number Of DIMM-Slots4 DDR-DIMMs / 2 SDRAM-DIMMs4 DDR-DIMMs / 2 SDRAM-DIMMs3 SDRAM-DIMM
max. Memory4096 MB4096 MB512 MB
DDR-SDRAM-SupportYesYesNo
VC-SDRAM-SupportYesNoNo
RIMM-Support (RDRAM)NoNoNo
Ultra-DMA/33/66/100yes/yes/yesyes/yes/yesyes/yes/yes
USB-Ports664
Max. PCI-Slots666
Available IRQs for PCI566
Integrated GraphicsNoNoYes
AGP-SlotYesYesYes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4xyes / yes / yesyes / yes / yesyes / yes / yes
ACPI-Featuresyesyesyes
Priceca. 38 Dollarca. 35 Dollarca. 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.