Skip to main content

AMD's Thunderbird finally fully fledged

The Chipsets

For the time being, the choice of chipsets for the new Thunderbird isn't big. AMD announced proudly that their rather old and almost outdated 750 chipset is able to support Thunderbird, but the much newer Apollo KX133 chipset from VIA seems to have problems with the new AMD processor. Therefore VIA created the Apollo KT133, which is nothing different, than a KX133-chipset with SocketA-support, so please don't expect any new features. KT133 was recently renamed after from 'KZ133', because the combination 'KZ' is in bad memory to millions of people worldwide.

AMD is currently working on the successor of the 750 chipset, which will carry the 'surprising' name 'AMD 760'. This chipset is expected to support DDR-SDRAM, which is why there are high expectations into systems that come with Thunderbird and the new AMD chipset. Obviously we should not expect those new platforms before August or even September 2000.

Test Motherboards For Thunderbird

By the time of the test we had three different SocketA-motherboards with VIA's Apollo KT133 chipset available for our 1 GHz Thunderbird. One was the motherboard out of the official AMD evaluation system, which turned out to be an OEM-product from Compaq by the name of 'Pipeline-1', of which we heard the rumor that it is manufactured by Asus.

Unfortunately this board wouldn't leave any room whatsoever for any kind of tweaking, which is not exactly surprising for an OEM-product. We weren't even able to adjust the memory timing.

The second motherboard came directly from VIA and is the official KT133 reference platform VT5276D. Our tests showed that this board would produce the best results, which is why we used it for our testing suite.

Finally we had the chance to try MSI's K7T Pro. This board seemed to be in a too early stage for testing, because the results it scored could not live up to its competitors from above.

Benchmark Setup

As in the recent Solano-article we made sure that our test results were comparable to the scores produced for the 'Giga-Battle ' article, which is why we used NVIDIA's rev. 5.08 drivers once more. It is still a fact that all later drivers are slower than revision 508, which is why we felt good about using it.

AMD Athlon Platform Information
Graphics card for all testsNVIDIA GeForce 256120 MHz Core, 300 MHz DDR-RAM 32 MB
Hard Drive for all testsSeagate Barracuda ATA ST320430A
CPU for all testsAthlon with Thunderbird core / Athlon with 'old' core, 1 GHz
VIA Apollo KT133 Chipset
MotherboardVIA KT133 Reference Board VT 5276D
Memory128 MB, Micron PC133 SDRAM CAS2
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
VIA Apollo KX133 Chipset
MotherboardAsus K7V, BIOS May 2000
Memory128 MB, Enhanced Memory Systems PC133 HSDRAM CAS2
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
AMD 750 'Irongate' Chipset
MotherboardAsus K7M, rev. 1.04, Chipset rev. C6, Super Bypass Enabled, ACPI BIOS 128 beta (02.03.2000), AGP2x enabled in GeForce driver (IrongateEnable2x=1)
Memory128 MB, Micron PC133 SDRAM CAS2
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
Intel Pentium III Platform Information
Graphics card for all testsNVIDIA GeForce 256120 MHz Core, 300 MHz DDR-RAM 32 MB
Hard Drive for all testsSeagate Barracuda ATA ST320430A
CPU for all testsIntel Pentium III 1 GHz, 133 MHz FSB
Intel i815 Chipset Pre-Release Stepping A2
MotherboardNo Information
Memory128 MB, Wichmann WorkX MXM128 PC133 SDRAM CAS2
IDE Interfaceonboard
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
VIA Apollo Pro 133A Chipset
MotherboardAsus P3V4X, ACPI BIOS 1002 final, March 2000
Memory128 MB, Enhanced Memory Systems PC133 HSDRAM CAS2
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
Intel 440 BX Chipset
MotherboardAsus P3B-F, ACPI BIOS 1005 beta 01, March 2000
Memory128 MB, Enhanced Memory Systems PC133 HSDRAM CAS2
IDE InterfacePromise Ultra66 PCI card
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
Intel 820 Chipset
MotherboardAsus P3C-L, ACPI BIOS 1020 beta 05, March 2000
Memory128 MB, Samsung PC800 RDRAM, RDRAM clock adjusted in BIOS
IDE Interfaceonboard
NetworkOnboard i82559
Intel 840 Chipset
MotherboardOR840, special unreleased BIOS
Memory128 MB, Samsung PC800 RDRAM128 MB, Samsung PC700 RDRAM, running as PC600 RDRAM
IDE Interfaceonboard
NetworkOnboard i82559
Driver Information
Graphics DriverNVIDIA 4.12.01.0508
viagart.vxd for VIA ChipsetsAGP-driver 4.22
ATA DriverPromise Ultra66 driver rev. 1.43Intel Ultra ATA BM driver v5.00.038Latest VIA ATA BM Driver
Environment Settings
OS VersionsWindows 98 SE 4.10.2222 AScreen Resolution 1024x768x16x85Screen Resolution 1280x1024x32x85 for SPECviewperf
DirectX Version7.0
Quake 2Version 3.20command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0Crusher demo, 640x480x16
Quake 3 ArenaRetail Versioncommand line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0Graphics detail set to 'Normal', 640x480x16Benchmark using 'Q3DEMO1'
ExpendableDownloadable Demo Versioncommand line = -timedemo640x480x16
Unreal TournamentVer. 4.05bhigh quality textures, medium quality skins, no tweaks640x480x16Benchmark using 'UTBench'