The SiS, VIA and Intel Showdown at the Performance Chipset Corral


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The PT880 from VIA is an advanced development of the PT800 and has been hard to find up to now. We had the opportunity to test the PT880 on a pre-release motherboard from Soltek back in October. The first production-ready board to reach our lab came from MSI.

Like Intel, VIA has opted for a network interface, too. It offers the VT6103 for 10/100 Mbit/s. Up to now there's been a lack of support for Gigabit-Ethernet chips, but this feature will likely be added to the coming Southbridge generation. MSI is aware of this deficit and has equipped the MS-7008 alias PT880 Neo with a Gigabit controller from Realtek.

A special feature of the VIA-Southbridge VT8237 is optional use of a feature called SATAlite: it requires an additional component that has two more Serial-ATA ports. That enables a total of four SATA hard drives to be operated pretty cheaply.

With 200.9 MHz, MSI is only minimally above the speed specified by Intel. The factory overclocking in this case is at least not bad, considering that the other boards in the test don't run exactly according to specifications, either.