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DDR For Pentium III - VIA's Apollo Pro 266 Chipset

Test Board

Our Apollo Pro 266 test candidate was Gigabyte's brand new GA-6RX Socket370 motherboard, which is a very well equipped tweaker platform. Besides Gigabyte's well-known Dual-BIOS feature for safe FLASH-procedures, 5 PCI-slots, 1 AMR-slot, 4 DDR-DIMM slots, Creative's CT5880 onboard sound, ATA100-support, Promise's onboard ATA100 RAID0/1 chip, four USB-ports and more, it also offers all overclocking features from FSB-tweaking to Vcore adjustments either in its BIOS-setup or on the board with dipswitches.

We decided to put it up against a motherboard with i815 chipset, which resembles the most sensible solution for Pentium III 'Coppermine' processors to date. Of course our reference board Asus CUSL2 was used for that.

Expectations

Well, of course we would like to see the VIA Apollo Pro 266 board smoking the i815-platform due to its superior memory bandwidth, but we know how little Pentium III was able to benefit from RDRAM and thus we don't expect much of an advance over Intel's PC133-memory chipset solution i815. Due to the fact that DDR-SDRAM doesn't have the high latency penalty of RDRAM, we at least don't expect a performance drop vs. i815, such as we had seen it with i820 and i840 before.