Heir To The BX: 18 Pentium III Motherboards Using The 815 Chipset

Round Up: 18 Boards With The 815 Chipset

On October 29, Intel will likely release the fourth Pentium generation, running at 1.4 and 1.5 GHz clock speed. This new CPU is supposed to work at 100 MHz system speed, yet quad pumped like AGP4x, increasing the bandwidth of the new CPU-bus to virtually 64 bit at 400 MHz. This newcomer will once more require a new motherboard.

Until then there are four processors to chose from: AMD's Duron and new Athlon as well as Intel's Celeron and Pentium III . Both the Duron and the Celeron are low-cost processors, which might not offer highest performance, but an excellent price/performance ratio. Intel's Celeron is not able to compete with high performance of AMD's Duron, but it runs on less expensive platforms. For more details, please refer to our review of the Duron processor .

Comparing the Athlon and the Pentium III is more difficult. Both are fast and tend to perform very similarly. Some normal applications as well as all FPU-intensive software will be faster on the Athlon, other titles, like many 3D-games, can benefit more from the Pentium III. AMD and Intel are using a socket for both their low-end and their performance processor families.

The question whether to buy Athlon or Pentium III will not be answered here. Some people prefer the Athlon simply because they don't want to support Intel, others will only rely on Intel products. In my opinion, the price for the whole system (CPU, motherboard, RAM) should be the factor with most influence on your buying decision. This article deals with 18 Socket 370 motherboards for Intel's Pentium III or Celeron processors.

One of the most performance critical factors is the platform. While there is only one performance chipset available for the new Athlon, VIA's KT133, there are five options for the Pentium III: The Intel 440BX, Intel 820, Intel 840, Intel 815 and VIA's 694X. The fastest platform comes with a special disadvantage. At 133 MHz front side bus clock, Intel's BX chipset still provides best performance, but at the risk of running the chipset and AGP beyond specification. Nobody wants to talk about i820 and i840 chipsets anymore, since its Rambus architecture is not fast enough to justify the high memory and chipset prices. There are still the VIA 694X and Intel's 815 chipset left. Both provide similar performance, whereas only the Intel chipset is available with an integrated UltraATA/100 controller (815E).