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Swansong for the XP Era: VIA KT880 Chipset Challenges nForce2

Dual-Channel RAM From VIA: KT880 Chipset Based On The AthlonXP

It took longer than it should, but VIA has now finally delivered a dual-channel memory chipset for the AthlonXP, the KT880 Northbridge. The chipset is also based on the same storage interface as the Pentium PT880 .

But wasn't VIA slow in getting the chipset to the starting block?

Indeed, many market watchers expected to see a high-performance chipset from VIA by the middle of last year - instead, what we got was the KT600, featuring the same old single-channel memory. Owing to this drawback, it was naturally a weak contender when pitted against the nForce 2 from NVIDIA.

But now VIA seems intent on closing the gap, although much of the hype is centered on the Athlon64. The chipmaker's efforts are not misplaced, however, since it is still possible to build AthlonXP based systems that beat Intel based offerings price-wise.

We're not likely to see any new AthlonXP processors faster than the top model 3200+ at 2.2 GHz, but we do expect the XP platform to remain available at least until the end of the year. Its performance is more than adequate for the lion's share of standard apps. We especially wanted to find out whether the KT880 chipset could tease any more kick out of the hoary AthlonXP.