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Socket A Is Coming: Test of 10 Boards

Manufacturers Of Socket A Chipsets

The chipset selection for AMD's socket processors Athlon and Duron is quite meager, as there's currently only AMD's 750 and VIA's Apollo KT133 chipset. Only a few manufacturers - e.g. Gigabyte's GA-71XE - intend to use grandfather Irongate (AMD750). Most other board makers despise Irongate, since its restrictions to PC100 SDRAM and AGP 2x are not up-to-date anymore. VIA's KX133 chipset turned out to be unsuitable. Initially it was intended for Slot A and Socket A, but in practice the AMD CPUs only ran stable up to 800 MHz. Consequently the manufacturer dropped the KX133 for Socket A and thus you won't find any Socket A boards with the KX133.

While there is a variety of chipsets for Intel's socket processors (Pentium III and Celeron), including 440BX, 810/Whitney, 815/Solano, 820/Camino, 840/Carmel, and VIA's Apollo Pro 133 (A) as well as models from SiS and Ali, VIA's KT133 is pretty much the only alternative for Thunderbird and Duron. Two months ago most SocketA-motherboards only existed as samples, and only a few users were able to get their hands on a board back then. Meanwhile VIA is shipping a sufficient amount of KT133 chipsets to the motherboard manufacturers and customers can chose from a wider selection of boards. The current situation with practically only one chipset for Socket A motherboards, VIA's KT133, should change soon. As you can see in the following table, AMD, VIA, SiS and ALi are developing new chipsets for AMDs Socket A processors.

ChipsetAliasSystem Bus 1AGPIntegrated graphicsSMPMemoryAvailable
AMD750Irongate100 MHz x 22xnonoPC100 SDRAMyes
VIA KT133VT8363100 MHz x 24xnonoPC133 SDRAM or VCRAMyes
AMD760133 MHz x 24xnoyesPC133 SDRAM or PC2100 DDR SDRAMQ4/2000
VIA KM133VT8365100 MHz x 24xyesnoPC133 SDRAM or VCRAMQ4/2000
VIA KX266VT8367133 MHz x 24xnoyesPC133 SDRAM or PC2100 DDR SDRAMQ4/2000
VIA KM266VT8367133 MHz x 24xyesnoPC133 SDRAM or PC2100 DDR SDRAMQ2/2001
SiS730S100 MHz x 24xyesnoPC133 SDRAMQ4/2000
ALi MAGiK 1M1647100 MHz x 24xnonoPC133 SDRAM orPC2100 DDR SDRAMQ4/2000

1 All new socket processors from AMD use the EV6 protocol. The real clock is 100 and 133 MHz, respectively. Double Data Rate offers an effective bandwidth of about twice the clock frequency (200 and 266 MHz, respectively). The Athlon and Duron CPUs currently available are specified for a 'double-pumped' system bus clock of 100 MHz.