DDR-SDRAM Has Finally Arrived

VIA VT8633 - Apollo Pro266

The first DDR-chipset for Intel processors will obviously not come from Intel, but most likely from VIA. The upcoming Apollo Pro266 chipset is sounding as if it's just a new version of the Apollo Pro133 chipset, beefed up with DDR-support. Surprisingly however, VIA put a whole lot of improvements into VT8633.

The most noticeable new feature besides the obvious DDR SDRAM-support is VIA's new 'Vlink'. Following Intel's funky 'hub architecture', VIA is now also using a dedicated connection rather than the PCI-bus to communicate between north and south bridge. It is 32-bit wide, clocked at 66 MHz, its peak data transfer rate is 266 MB/s and it's called 'Vlink'. I do admit that I have yet to see a device that takes real advantage of this 'hub architecture or 'Vlink', but I am sure that at least the marketing people will love it. Besides that the VT8233 south bridge comes with ATA100-support and an integrated networking MAC controller with standard MII interface to an external PHY, which basically is a cost effective network adapter..