Reinforcements: 6 New Athlon Boards With VIA's KT133A


Only some weeks have passed since we published the first review on six KT133A motherboards. Right now, the situation for all who are interested in buying an Athlon or Duron system is quite sophisticated. One the one hand there is the party of single data rate SDRAM supporters. They keep referring to benchmarks, showing that the performance gap between conventional SDRAM and DDR-SDRAM is actually not particularly big. They might have a point right now, as it is often difficult to distinguish a SDR from a DDR system subjectively.

The other party is preaching the opposite. While I was waiting to be attended in a local computer shop some days ago, I was given the rare opportunity to listen to the sermon of an evidently radical supporter of DDR technology. He was portraying DDR memory as some kind of panacea for IT: Superior performance over other memory technologies, short latency and excellent price/performance ratio... (what about cure for cancer?).

Our job at Tom's Hardware Guide is to inform our readers about facts and trends; helping everybody who is interested to form her/his opinion on topics she/he is interested in. Yes, DDR SDRAM seems to be the trend setting memory with the biggest chance of long-lasting success in the market. This technology has definitely more potential than what actual systems are able to show, like the review of VIA's Apollo Pro 266 (for Pentium III systems) tried to point out. However, the purchase of latest technology has always been an expensive affair. Current Athlon or Duron systems already benefit from DDR memory - at higher investments, of course. 128 MB PC133 SDRAM memory can be obtained for $35 right now, while there is still a premium to pay for the same amount of DDR memory.

Finally everybody has to make the decision on his/her own whether to buy a DDR-based motherboard or to stay with SDRAM. Considering that the average system performance is ahead of software requirements (including games) by at least six months, the question what memory technology to chose becomes more or less dispensable. This statement can of course only be applied to the mainstream market. High-end computers should certainly reflect latest technology, because for the buyers of those systems it is usually more important than expenses.