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VIA Arming the PCIe/AGP PT880 Pro Chipset For P4 Upgrade Business

PT880 Pro Chipset Details

As we already mentioned, PT880 Pro is largely based on the already existing PT880. However, we believe that VIA had to make some radical design changes to fit in both the x16 PCI Express interface and the DDR2 memory controller in a cost-effective way. Although Intel's decision to drop AGP support in favor of a quick PCI Express adoption does indeed make sense, we believe that there were some technical reasons to go this way. Or to make a long story short: the effort expended by VIA to implement both interfaces simultaneously was likely considerable.

Besides the convenience of AGP 8X, both Southbridge options come with two full-featured UltraATA/133 channels, allowing a total of four drives. This contrasts to Intel's decision to cut one of its UltraATA/100 ports in favor of Serial ATA. While Serial ATA is the wave of the future, very few SATA optical drives are currently available. Having only one UltraATA port would mean that attaching a DVD-ROM and a CD/DVD burner would consume UltraATA connectivity, leaving no room for IDE drives that one might like to keep using.

While Intel is going to support DDR2-667 with the introduction of their Glenwood and Lakeport chipsets in late Q2, VIA has already implemented multipliers for clocking DDR2 memory at faster clock speeds. While this is not necessarily a big deal for a hybrid/upgrade platform such at PT880 Pro, it is definitely a big plus for the PT894 and PT894 Pro when it comes to overclocking and fine tuning.