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VIA KT400 Chipset Hype

8/19 Well, last week VIA announced the KT400 Athlon motherboard chipset. The press release used these words: …” Enabling Stratospheric Performance in AMD Athlon™ XP Processor Based Systems… ultra fast connectivity combine to crown the new king of Socket A compatible chipsets…”  I've seen bloated adjectives used in press releases before, but this reaches a new, perhaps stratospheric, level of absurdity.  And this week they are announcing "The huge choice of KT400 based solutions to be launched into the marketplace reflects the enormous demand from gamers, professionals and consumers for more memory bandwidth..." This clearly warps and obscures the truth.

My benchmarks show that the KT400's predecessor, the KT333, was no faster with current Athlons than its predecessor, the KT266A.  With the possible exceptions of faster USB and some improvement in video performance, I do not think this chipset will make much difference either.  When one considers that the KT400 chipset does not even support DDR400 memory (the Athlon doesn't support it or DDR333 memory anyway) as it’s name would imply when compared to the KT266A and KT333 chipsets, one has to ask does “Stratopheric Performance” mean something that would appeal to “air heads?"  Here are the real differences between the KT333 and KT400 chipsets:

  • The KT400 supports AGP 8X versus AGP 4X supported by the KT333
  • V-Link connecting Northbridge to Southbridge was increased from 266 to 533 MB/s, about twice as fast as it probably needs to be.
  • USB 2.0 versus “USB”
  • The KT400 supports DDR333 memory versus the KT333 which supports DD333 memory (that's not a typo)

I would offer a more defined comparison (such as what is meant by “USB”) if VIA were to make the information available.  As it is, they have seen fit to remove spec sheets from their web site and do not respond to requests for them by e-mail. Larry

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