I hope you don't get bored with so many motherboards we've reviewed in the last few weeks. If you liked it, you may be pleased to hear that a last BX comparison will follow within the next weeks. But let's get back to business now.
The clear performance winners are the Gigabyte GA-6VX7-4X and the Asus CUV4X-M . Both generated really good results, which can almost be compared to some slower BX133 motherboards. Stability was not an issue this time; all candidates were very reliable.
I also want to recommend the QDI Advance 10 , as it left a great impression. It reaches good performance, is excellently featured and should not be very expensive.
The best overclocking boards are the Elitegroup P6VAP-A+ and the Asus CUV4X-M.
Going to the next computer shop and buying a VIA Apollo Pro 133A motherboard using Socket 370 seems like a safe affair today. None of the boards caused any problems during our tests. Only two did not reach the expected performance, but those deficits might get fixed with BIOS updates.
Looking back at the test, I'm missing a real overclocking champion! Of course there's the little Asus board, but as this MicroATX motherboard cannot provide enough flexibility for most home users. Elitegroup comes with all important features, but the P6VAP-A+ still lacks performance. All boards let you chose FSB speeds up to 150 MHz, but as long as you cannot increase the processor voltage, overclocking might be a rather disappointing affair. IWill even offers 166 MHz FSB, which did not run stable though. I doubt that the additional IDE controller chip will ever tolerate heavy overclocking.
Motherboards with Intel's 815-chipset will become available sometimes in June, but I'm not sure if this new chipset will bring Intel back BX's market shares. As Tom already explained in a first Solano preview , Intel might not really want to sell too much of a chipset that makes use of SDRAM, as this will most likely interfere with their policy of pushing RDRAM at all costs. Short supplies of i815 chipsets will keep its price quite high. That's why I think that VIA will continue increasing Pentium III chipset sales. Particularly OEMs can make excellent margins using VIA based motherboards: People have realized that i820 + RDRAM is far too expensive, while i815 might not be available in quantities anytime soon.