VIA K8T800 PRO: PCI/AGP Lock and 1000 HyperTransport for Athlon 64by Wesley Fink on May 6, 2004 5:00 AM EST
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When the Opteron was introduced about a year ago, VIA and nVidia began their battle for the best chipset and motherboards for the AMD Athlon 64. It appeared early on that despite the lower 600 HyperTransport, the nVidia nF3-150 just might win the first round with a PCI/AGP lock, which was missing from the otherwise superior VIA K8T800 chipset. On Socket 754 single-channel boards, nF3 and K8T800 were basically a toss-up in performance, but K8T800 definitely was the better performer on the Socket 940 Dual-Channel platform. Later, when we discovered that the PCI/AGP lock also did not work on most nF3-150 boards, the supposed advantage for nVidia disappeared.
Recently, there have been many changes in the chipsets available for the Athlon 64 family as manufacturers are gearing up for round 2 - the Socket 939 wars. nVidia introduced their upgraded nFoce3-250Gb chipset with 1000HT, working PCI/AGP locks, and a feature set that finally was competitive with the excellent VIA K8T800, or perhaps even better. The K8T800 PRO is VIA's answer as they also gear up for Socket 939. Based on the excellent K8T800 core, the PRO version finally adds a PCI/AGP lock to the VIA features, and HyperTransport is raised to the new 1000 speed that we will see in AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 processors.
VIA will price the new PRO chipset version exactly the same as the previous non-PRO version. This means that you will quickly see the K8T800 PRO replace the K8T800 in every Athlon 64 configuration - Socket 754, Socket 940, and the new Socket 939. The chipset will be the same in all configurations, meaning 1000 HT and PCI/AGP lock will soon be available even in Socket 754 boards for current Athlon 64 chips that are based on the K8T800 PRO chipset.