Early Athlon Motherboard Review

Praise The Three Musketeers!

This motherboard review includes the Athlon boards from Gigabyte, FIC and Microstar International (MSI). Let's commend them for their courage and let's hope that others will follow. I will not rest until I either find out that Intel never threatened anyone, or until I found some hard evidence to once and for all stop this ridiculous behavior. I will fly over to Taiwan and talk to key people in the motherboard business. Intel is either free of sin or it should better stop threatening businesses as long as there's time. The FTC is waiting and so am I.

The Chipset

As you certainly know from my article 'The Athlon Processor - AMD is finally overtaking Intel', Athlon has a different bus than Intel's sixth generation processors and thus it needs a different chipset as well. AMD has put a lot of work hours into their own AMD 750-chipset, working closely with non-Intel chipset makers as well.

The AMD 750 chipset follows the classic roots of chipsets we know for quite a while. It comes with a 'North Bridge' that talks to the CPU via DEC's 'EV6 bus protocol', to the graphics adapter via the AGP and to the PC100-memory via a 64-bit 100 MHz memory bus. It's connected to the 'South Bridge' via the PCI-bus and the south-bridge does such common things as taking care of the ISA-slots, the ATA66 IDE-interface, the system management and several other things. This setup is extremely similar to Intel's BX-chipset and its predecessors. The AMD 750 is not using anything like Intel's new 'Hub Structure', as currently found in Intel's i810 or the future i820 chipset. This hub-structure is not a bad idea, but we have yet to see its real-world advantages, so that I wouldn't worry too much about it. Whoever was pleased with Intel's BX-chipset so far will be pleased with AMD750 as well.