Socket 939 Chipsets: Motherboard Performance & PCI/AGP Locksby Wesley Fink on June 2, 2004 12:01 AM EST
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VIA PCI/AGP LockWhen VIA introduced their K8T800 PRO chipset, they also introduced a new feature for VIA - the ability to fix the AGP/PCI frequency for overclocking. This is a feature that enthusiasts had come to enjoy on earlier Intel and nVidia chipsets, and many enthusiasts were staying away from VIA chipsets until this feature was also implemented on VIA chipsets.
The addition of the PCI/AGP lock is, to our way of thinking, a critical feature for VIA to compete with both nVidia and Intel for enthusiast buyers in the motherboard market. We applauded VIA's move to the PCI/AGP lock in our launch review of the K8T800 PRO. While we found this feature did work on the VIA Reference board, it didn't work very well. The feature also worked on several K8T800 PRO Reference boards that we have tested, but we also realize these are highly optimized and verified before we ever see these Reference Boards at AnandTech.
We figured that we would be seeing working competitive PCI/AGP locks on shipping K8T800 PRO chipsets, but that has not really materialized. In fact, we are very disturbed at the chaos that seems to surround the VIA implementation of the PCI/AGP lock at the manufacturers that we have talked with here at Computex. Some have proclaimed the feature is so unstable that they will not include it in VIA K8T800 PRO boards, while others say the feature is actually broken in the majority of the chipsets that they are currently receiving from VIA.
VIA themselves acknowledge that there is a problem with the AGP/PCI lock feature on the K8T800 PRO chipset, though they state the feature does work for limited overclocking in shipping chipsets - and will be quickly and completely fixed as soon as they can determine the factors that are causing the instability and inconsistency in the current PCI/AGP lock. The fact that VIA still does not know what exactly is wrong with the PCI/AGP lock on K8T800 PRO does not bode well for a quick fix.