Dual Processing Affordable Again: MSI 694D Pro And Tyan Tiger 133
Do you still remember ABit's BP6 motherboard? More than a year ago, it was the first motherboard for two Socket370-processors. Using the BX chipset and an additional UltraATA/66 controller, it was able to run with one or two Celeron processors, even though Intel had claimed that Celeron-processors are unable to run in dual-configurations.
In the past the most popular platform for dual processor systems used to be the Intel's 440BX chipset. However, as it is only specified for 66 and 100 MHz front side bus, people had to find an alternative for Pentium III processors running at 133 MHz FSB. So far, only Intel's 840 chipset was able to meet this requirement, but only with the unpopular and overly expensive Rambus memory RDRAM. As an alternative, Server Works is now offering their Server Set III chipset series. Its big advantage is that it runs with SDRAM memory instead of RDRAM. However, the ServerWorks solution won't make it into the main stream for quite a while to come, since motherboards equipped with this professional SMP-chipset are hardly affordable for the masses, as motherboard-prices range from US$ 500 and up.
This situation left the field wide open once more for the Taiwanese chipset maker VIA. Today VIA's 694X or 'Apollo Pro 133A' is the most widely used platform for systems that are equipped with Intel Pentium III processors running at 133 MHz FSB. VIA's data sheets always claimed that the 694X is capable of dual-processor support and finally dual-Socket370 motherboards with Apollo Pro133A are becoming available. Following VIA's tradition, those platforms are very affordable and could therefore make dual processor systems rather popular.