VIA KT333 Put To The Test: 18 Motherboards Compared

Dilemma Of The VIA KT333: Still No USB 2.0 Support

To get to the point: all 18 motherboards in the test bed were indeed equipped with the VIA KT333 chipset, but the USB 2.0 function has not yet been integrated in the Southbridge of the chipset. In practical terms, this means that pins of the Northbridge and the Southbridge of its predecessor, VIA KT266A, are compatible to the KT333, so a new board layout is not required. However, in order to enable USB 2.0 functionality, an additional chip must be placed on the board, since the latest VIA Southbridge, the VT8233A, does not offer this feature yet. In any case, this modification involves a completely new motherboard design. Numerous manufacturers represented in this comparison have adapted the design in order to make room for the USB 2.0 chips or other features such as RAID, network, FireWire or sound functionality.

Comparison: VIA KT333 Vs. KT266A

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ChipsetVIA Apollo KT333VIA Apollo KT266AVIA Apollo KT266Nvidia nForce
IntroductionFebruary 2002September 2001April 2001September 2001
PlatformSocket 462Socket 462Socket 462Socket 462
Supported processorsAMD Duron/Athlon/XPAMD Duron/Athlon/XPAMD Duron/Athlon/XPAMD Duron/Athlon/XP
Multi-processor supportnononono
NorthbridgeVIA KT333VIA KT266AVIA VT8366Nvidia IGP 128
SouthbridgeVIA VT8233AVIA VT8233VIA VT8233Nvidia MCP-D
Front Side Bus clock100/133/166 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR
Memory clock100/133/166 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR
Asynchronous memory clockyesyesyesyes
FSB overclockingup to 230 MHzup to 200 MHzup to 200 MHzup to 150 MHz
Max. # DIMM slots4443
Max. memory3072 MB3072 MB3072 MB4096 MB
SDRAM supportyesyesyesno
DDR SDRAM supportyesyesyesyes
Dual-channel DDR supportnononoyes
RDRAM support (Rambus)nononono
# USB connectors6666
Max. # PCI slots6666
integrated graphics corenononoyes
integrated soundyesyesyesyes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4x / 8xyes/yes/yes/noyes/yes/yes/noyes/yes/yes/noyes/yes/yes/no
ACPI supportedyesyesyesyes
USB 2.0 supportyesnonono
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ChipsetAMD 760SiS 735ALi Magik 1
IntroductionFebruary 2001May 2001February 2001
PlatformSocket 462Socket 462Socket 462
Supported processorsAMD Duron/Athlon/XPAMD Duron/Athlon/XPAMD Duron/Athlon/XP
Multi-processor supportnonono
NorthbridgeAMD 761SiS 735ALi M1647
SouthbridgeAMD 765integratedALi M1535D+
Front Side Bus clock100/133 MHz DDR66/100/133 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR
Memory clock100/133 MHz DDR66/100/133 MHz DDR100/133 MHz DDR
Asynchronous memory clockyesyesyes
FSB overclockingup to 150 MHzup to 150 MHzup to 150 MHz
Max. # DIMM slots434
Max. memory2048 MB1536 MB1024 MB
SDRAM supportnoyesyes
DDR SDRAM supportyesyesyes
Dual-channel DDR supportnonono
RDRAM support (Rambus)nonono
# USB connectors466
Max. # PCI slots466
integrated graphics corenonono
integrated soundyesyesyes
AGP 1x / 2x / 4x / 8xyes/yes/yes/noyes/yes/yes/noyes/yes/yes/no
ACPI supportedyesyesyes
USB 2.0 supportnonono

Essentially, VIA had just made the big step from KT266 to KT266A: through the introduction and optimization of the memory interface, this chipset gained significantly in performance. This fact was proved in our previous test DDR333 For Athlon: VIA KT333 vs. KT266A . For the VIA KT333, this means that only the memory clock was increased from 133 MHz to 166 MHz for DDR333. An Ultra DMA/133 feature was added, for which Maxtor is the only one to offer hard disks that correspond to this transfer protocol. Currently, there are disks with a data capacity of 160 GB and an ATA/133 interface. The mechanics are the same, so the well-known Ultra DMA 66 cable with 80 pins (an increased number of grounded pins) can continue to be used.

The table above lists all of the chipsets that are currently available for the AMD platform (Socket 462) with DDR SDRAM support. Older chipsets with SDRAM support (such as the VIA KT133A) are not included here, because boards with these chips haven't been produced for a while now, or are no longer available on the market.