New Hope For Athlon - The VIA Apollo KX133 Chipset

The Apollo KX133 Reference Board

Let's get to the hands-on part of this review now.

VIA shipped me a sweet little reference board that looks like anything but a hot-rod. The 'VT5249B1' comes in MicroATX form factor, which means that you almost need to use a magnifying glass to find it. Plug the Athlon-processor with a massive heat sink in it and you get a rather funky picture.

This board is not meant to be for commercial purposes, so it can afford to have only two PCI-slots and one AMR-slot. Of course it has an AGP-slot also, just in case you couldn't find it on the picture.

Getting the board to work was surprisingly painless. I plugged in the CPU, my reference GeForce DDR-card, a Netgear 10/100Mbit NIC, Micron PC133 SDRAM and switched on the whole enchilada. The system run instantly, which was one of the rather rare occasions in my history of pre-release hardware tests. Besides the normal stuff, the BIOS-setup is offering some rather kewl settings, which are not documented though. I turned on 133 MHz memory-bus, CAS delay of '2' and AGP4x and started Windows98 without any problems. Then I adjusted the strange 'R'-settings in the BIOS-setup one-by-one, until the system ran at the highest performance.