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Comprehensive VIA motherboard roundup June 2000

Details About The VIA Chipset

Okay, the VIA chipset is definitely fast and worth the money you gotta spend for it. The name "Apollo Pro 133A" only characterizes the North Bridge VT82C694X. It supports all Intel processors (at 66, 100 or 133 MHz FSB), PC133 SDRAM and an AGP 4x interface. This chip is able to use up to 1.5 GBytes SDRAM, while Intel's Solano will only be able to address 512 MBytes. Nevertheless, you should check the specifications of your favourite motherboard in case you should require more than 768 MBytes (3x 256 MBytes).

VIA is offering two different South Bridge chips, the VT82C596B and the better featured VT82C686A. Both include a PCI-to-ISA bridge, an UltraDMA/66 controller, up to six PCI slots, keyboard controller, a USB hub (two ports) and PC98 power management. The big brother also includes an I/O controller, two more USB ports, more options for temperature/voltage monitoring and PC99 compliance.

VIA's 694X is able to run the FSB and the memory asynchronously = at different clocks. For example, you can run a 100 MHz CPU with memory at 133 MHz or vice versa. That gives you more flexibility than with all current Intel chipsets. By the way, Intel's 815 chipset will have a similar feature as well.

After installing your operating system, you should both install the latest VIA 4in1 driver set (4.22) in order to get full chipset support, and the AGP driver 4.03 (Windows 98). Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 basically do not require those drivers, but the 4in1 package also installs the latest busmaster IDE driver (2.1.47), which speeds up your hard drive considerably.