VIA KT266A Initial Roundup - October 2001by Anand Lal Shimpi on October 24, 2001 6:45 AM EST
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At this point we could bring out nForce as the perfect example but even at the time of publication nForce based motherboards are not readily available (note that the chipset was "launched" in June). We'll spare nForce until later, today we are concerned with the first few motherboards based on VIA's KT266A chipset. This chipset was officially launched on September 3, 2001, although it was due weeks before that. As you'll remember, the release was inspired by increasing pressure from SiS and worries that NVIDIA would have a killer product on their hands with nForce. Now, almost two months after the initial launch we are finally seeing motherboards based on the chipset appear in the retail channels.
With only three boards readily available this is far from an Intel chipset launch, which is something that VIA and the rest of the chipset players will have to work on in the future. Regardless, with the arrival of the Athlon XP many users are finding themselves in a very tempting position of wanting to upgrade. We've already shown you how much of a difference a high performing DDR platform like the KT266A can make in the benchmarks, but now it's time to take a look at the options you have available if you're making that upgrade today.
We've started out this mini-roundup with the three currently available motherboards, but we will continue to update it as more motherboards become available. As for now, the contenders are: the EPoX 8KHA+, MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU, and the Shuttle AK31 Revision 3.1. All of the boards are based on VIA's KT266A chipset and feature the same VIA 8233 South Bridge. For more information on the chipset itself take a look at our original review of it from September.