Ambitious VIA: Multiple PCI-E Graphics Slotsby Kristopher Kubicki on August 13, 2004 5:17 PM EST
- Posted in
VIA continues to swap back and forth with NVIDIA as the premiere Athlon 64 core logic, but any and all efforts in the Pentium/Celeron arena have been largely dominated by SIS and Intel. Within the last 18 months with the inception of the PT800 chipset we have seen a strong push within the company for a contending Pentium 4 chipset. As a dual channel contender with Intels i848P chipset, VIA has done better for itself - although many can contend that VIA is only stealing competition from SiS and barely scratching business at Intel.
So where do we see VIA going in the next six months? For one, it looks like VIA wants to pick up the pieces where Intel does not; particularly with dual PCIe x16 connectors. As you may recall, Intel's high end server/workstation Tumwater chipsets support two PEG slots, even though one is merely an x8 lane with with an x16 interface. As somewhat of an unexpected, VIA looks like they will not only support, but encourage NVIDIA's SLI movement. It may be the case that VIA is working on some DeltaChrome SLI project of their own, but most likely it seems that VIA does not want to be left behind in the multi display market.
VIA's push for dual PEG interfaces will show up on both Intel and AMD platforms. The implementation of K8T890 Pro looks to be the most ambitious.
However, one thing that was skirted around in the roadmaps was the lack of PCIe lanes on K8T890 andK8T890 Pro. We will most likely see 2 x1 lanes from the southbridge, but only one x4 lane on K8T890. This x4 lane is not mentioned in K8T890 Pro roadmap, and will most likely not exist in the Pro version. VIA is extremely specific in the roadmap to not mention that their PEG solution is x16. It may be the case that we see two x8 devices with x16 interconnects. This is perfectly allowable int the PCIe specification; Intel implements it just so in their Tumwater chipset.
Below you can see VIA's approach to the PT894 Pro chipset. Notice the lack of additional PCIe devices stemming from the northbridge.
The PT894 Pro and K8T890 Pro both look to only utilize the new VT8251 southbridge. We have lightly talked about this southbridge in the past but never had many details to report on it. It looks to us the VT8251 will differ from the tried and true VT8237 in two ways; new 8 channel audio support and native NCQ for SATA. Look forward to seeing VT8251 on reference motherboards sometime before September.