From now on, multiprocessing is an option for everybody. Both the Tyan and MSI motherboards provide good performance at attractive prices. Both motherboards start at approximately $170, which is not much more than what you have to pay for 815 motherboards. Particularly the MSI board is excellently featured and gives you all important functions including sound and Firewire.
Maybe some of you wonder why I am praising the two VIA boards, even though the OR840 provides clearly better performance. Of course there are some workstation applications which justify the invenstment in an i840-platform. However, the VIA-based SMP-platforms make dual-processor systems available to anyone. Most users don't want a dual system just to have the fastest possible solution, but to increase their own efficiency.
Prices for the Intel OR840 board start at approx. $300. In addition, 256 MB Rambus DRAM cost at least as much as 1 GB PC133 SDRAM. I can also say it in other words: $2000 are enough to buy two VIA boards, four 667 MHz Pentium III CPUs and four 128 MB DIMMs. For that money you could also get an OR840, two Pentium III 667 CPUs and 256 MB RDRAM.
This article is meant as an introduction to dual processor systems. Within the next week we are going to deal with this topic in detail. We are also working on a more accurate benchmarking suite for dual CPU configurations.