It's quite a long time since we did the last big motherboard review. This one was quite heavy, since benchmarking 21 boards takes a lot of time. Nevertheless, I think that the results made the following things clear:
- Boards using the VIA Apollo Pro 133 (VT82C693C ) are quite a bad choice for gamers, performance-hungry users and of course all who have to run high end applications . However, such a board could still be interesting for all who have some hardware left and want to assemble another PC (e.g. web or fax server, game server) which certainly will not require high bandwidths.
Those boards should also be very cheap, since I expect the 693A chipset to vanish from the market - thanks to the faster and better brother. For example I could imagine getting such a board to bridge the time until i815 is available in the following cases:Your old motherboard got broken, but you don't want to get a new CPU and new RAM as wellYour old motherboard is not suited for a new component you just bought (e.g. a GeForce graphics card with its heavy power consumption), but you don't want to get a whole new system
- Combining a brand new and fast Pentium III processor (667 MHz or faster) with a quite slow 693A -board is like throwing performance away . A 694X motherboard will give you much better performance (5-30%). I think if you want to spend a lot of money for a fast CPU, you will certainly have some bucks left to get a decent motherboard.
- Performance is an issue again . That is something you should consider carefully. As long as most companies did not have time to optimize their boards and utilize some experience with the latest chipsets, power users should not buy a motherboard without having read performance comparisons.
- Check your requirements!
- Maybe you won't need a USB Hub in case the board offers four USB ports.Do you really need high performance now? What about a hybrid board? You could get a cheap Celeron now and upgrade to a Pentium III as soon as you can afford your model.
- Overclocking is a hot topic. On the one hand, the VIA chipsets are all but overclocking champions. Most boards bear 150 MHz, but no board offers higher FSB speeds as they wouldn't work reliably. However, the VIA 694X is definitely an excellent combination for overclockers as well as non-overclockers: FSB can usually be selected freely. The AGP can be run at saft 1/2 FSB or overclocked 2/3 FSB. Your main memory can usually be operated 33 MHz below or above the selected FSB.
Follow-up by reading the article 'Slot-1 VIA Motherboard Update '.