A Closer Look at VIA K8T800 PRO

The K8T800 was covered in detail in our launch review for Athlon 64 motherboards. Additional coverage was provided in the Socket 940 roundup at AnandTech. The K8T800 is very competitive in features, and the PRO version is essentially the same chipset.



The only real differences in the K8T800 and the K8T800 PRO are the increase in HyperTransport speed to 1000MHz and the addition of a PCI/AGP lock to the BIOS options of the K8T800 PRO. Both these features should make the PRO version of the K8T800 much more appealing to computer enthusiasts.

This is VIA's first use of an AGP/PCI lock on an Athlon chipset and it is long overdue. We first saw this feature used by VIA on the PT880 chipset released several weeks ago. VIA tells us that all future VIA chipsets will include the ability to lock internal buses when FSB is increased.

Index Basic Features: VIA K8T800 PRO Reference Board
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  • Odeen - Saturday, May 08, 2004 - link

    #4: The answer is pretty much a "yes"
    Reason: Firewire, in this design, sits on the PCI bus. Gigabit networking sits on the PCI bus. Any soundcard / chip better than chipset-provided onboard sound sits on the PCI bus. Any additional hard drive controllers sit on the PCI bus.

    On non-server motherboards, the PCI bus runs at 33mhz and is 32 bits wide, for 133 megabytes/sec of bandwidth

    Firewire is 400mbit/sec per port. The new design is 800mbit/sec. This means you will use a maximum of 50 megabytes/sec for a firewire/400 port (granted, the practical peak is less than 50mb/sec, but you'll never eke out 133mb/sec out of the PCI bus either). Add to that the 250mb/sec full-duplex Gigabit Ethernet can generate, and 150mb/sec for ever SATA port courtesy of those Silicon Image chips, and you can see that you're starved for bandwidth.

    On the other hand, there's a tidy 533 megabytes/sec of bandwidth between the northbridge and the southbridge.. that means everything that runs straight off the southbridge can report back to the northbridge and, consequently, to the CPU at 533mb/sec. Subtract 133mb/sec for the PCI, and you still have 400 megabytes for LAN and hard drives and firewire, if it's implemented in the southbridge.

    Unfortunately, the only true "onboard" firewire comes courtesy of the MCP-T southbridge on nForce2 boards. Everyone else (All Via, all SiS, all Intel chipsets, and all chipsets for Athlon64) has to use a PCI firewire chip.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Friday, May 07, 2004 - link

    Welsey #11, I would liked to have seen an 8or9 x 233and234. I still smell a rat. I've run some mobos at 41MHz PCI speed in the past while others (same brand and chipset but different review) would not function. The fact that other posts claim that ABIT have left out the AGP/PCI lock feature of this chipset adds to my suspicion.
    Reply
  • Klaasman - Friday, May 07, 2004 - link

    Why oh why ABIT, would they leave this out?? Damn it! Reply
  • blup - Friday, May 07, 2004 - link

    This board breaks my heart. I was hoping for a "BH7 for Athlon 64" i.e. cheap, fast, very overclockable. It is not to be.

    ABIT has NOT implemented the PCI/AGP lock on this board - maybe there will be a more expensive MAX model that does. Checkout one man's review at http://www.nickgoodall.org/kv8pro/review1.htm
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 07, 2004 - link

    #10 -
    I did a quick check with PC Geiger and the bus was locked on the Reference Board. Since I had the board for only 2 days for testing, there was no time for much more. You will also see I reached 231 overclock on the FX51 at 10 ratio, in addition to the 255x8.

    Checking my review notes, I also tested the 10 multiplier at 233 and 234 to determine if there was a ratio drop. I could boot at 233 but the system wasn't completely stable; the CPU simply would not do 234 at standard multiplier. This also suggests a working lock.

    Please also keep in mind that VIA has a working pci/agp lock on the PT880 chipset for the P4, so this is not their first PCI/AGP lock. It is just their first lock on an Athlon 64 chipset.
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    You got to 8x252 on the Aopen AK86-L (VIA chipset/Skt754) which didnt have PCI/AGP lock but ratio controlled. Given its an a64/FX chipset (and on top VIA) where AGP/PCI lock has been a matter of controversy, would'nt it have been prudent to have used your PCIgeiger to check the PCI frequencies at the different FSB settings-so that we wont be fooled once again!

    Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    This is definately a good thing... finally overclockers have a choice between chipsets. Reply
  • Warder45 - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    I thought the Pro was going to have a HT speed of 1200? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    #6 -

    PCI/AGP lock is DEFINITELY working on the Reference Board, but I can not yet address whether Abit has implemented the lock or just dropped the PRO chipset in the older design with no changes. I did see the one review in the UK reporting this issue before the VIA review was finished.

    We do have the Abit board coming to us for testing and I will report what I find.
    Reply
  • Klaasman - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    Abit has a board out now but reports are that it does NOT have the AGP/PCI lock working. Reply

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