There's no doubt that almost the entire Socket-A market is owned by VIA; the KT133, KT266, KT266A and KT333 lines have given VIA a larger percentage of market share than they've ever enjoyed making chipsets for other processors. You would think that with VIA's experience in building low-cost, high performance chipsets that they could easily clean up shop in making Pentium 4 chipsets as well, but things aren't always that simple.

VIA is still in litigation with Intel over whether or not they can legally produce any Pentium 4 chipsets, meanwhile they are happily selling the chipsets to any motherboard manufacturers that will buy them. Unfortunately, the major motherboard manufacturers are in great fear of the wrath of Intel and thus they won't touch any VIA Pentium 4 solutions with a 10 foot pole.

This was unfortunate for the P4X266 and P4X266A but as you're soon to find out, it's even more of a disappointment for the P4X333 and the forthcoming P4X600; the reason being that while the first two VIA P4 chipsets didn't really bring anything new to the table, the P4X333 and eventually the P4X600 will bring considerable value.

Currently the Pentium 4 chipset market is owned by Intel and what Intel doesn't have SiS takes with their 6xx offerings. All legal implications aside, it requires a truly impressive showing from VIA in order for them to even gain credibility in the Pentium 4 chipset market. It's time to find out whether the P4X333 is impressive enough…

AGP 8X and an Improved Memory Controller

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