It’s been several weeks since the VIA KT600 chipset for Athlon CPU’s began shipping, and the market has changed direction very quickly. We are no longer seeing reviews asking if the KT600 can beat nForce2 Ultra 400 – the consensus now seems to be that nForce2 Ultra 400 will remain the performance leader barring a major surprise. KT600 seems to have quickly settled into the "value chip" category, which is really amazing when you consider the feature set that is potentially available in the VIA design.

Due to the limitations of the Athlon architecture, there is no inherent reason why a dual-channel chipset would be the performance leader on the AMD Athlon platform. We have known this in theory since the original nForce made its appearance, but we have recently seen, with the single-channel nForce2 400, that single-channel can indeed compete effectively with the dual-channel nForce2 Ultra 400 in most performance areas. When we consider that nForce2 Ultra was designed to be a "value" chipset by NVIDIA, we can only wonder what a single-channel chipset, designed for top performance, could really do on the Athlon. This is a question, however, that we will probably never see answered in the marketplace. With Athlon64, a new socket, and a new Architecture due to debut next month, we do not expect to see new and improved solutions for Socket A Athlons.

So we are left with the very pleasant feature-rich VIA KT600 chipset that will likely not get the attention it otherwise deserves because it is not the single-channel chipset to finally compete with nForce2. In our testing, the KT600 is a solid, trouble-free chipset that is likely one of the best ever produced by VIA. The feature set is as excellent and contemporary – even to SATA RAID – as you could possibly want. But it is not the performance equal of nForce2 Ultra 400, and will likely get dismissed by shoppers.

It is in this climate that we take a look at a full-featured KT600 from one of the major players in the motherboard market. The ASUS A7V600 is loaded with features, and yet we see it selling in the "value" $70 to $100 price range. So do the features of the A7V600 make this the KT600 board to own?

ASUS A7V600: Basic Features
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  • Wesley Fink - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    #6 My parents resisted naming me Rat. I'm grateful! My ancestors apparently were very proud of the last name since they did not change it to the literal translation of Finch. The only advantage I've found is it's hard to forget.
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    Does anybody actually own these motherboards that are being tested? I don't know anybody with any of these. As I say is never AMD motherboard review... where are the boards that everybody knows? The A7N8X Deluxe, 8RDA+, etc... I want to see how the KT600 compares to THOSE.
  • sprockkets - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    I don't use flash due to the stupid ads it brings. Other than that, it's a nice board. A bit slower but has SATA. Wish someone on the AMD side would release a uATX SATA board built on the southbridge.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    Wesley Fink, what a weasel name. I bet ur a slimy and sleezy as they come! Either way nice review :P.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    A nice review on overall. But I would hope that Anandtech looks into the use of exaggerations when using words like 'mediocre' or 'shocked' at rather inappropriate times. I know, it's a problem with the use of the english language in general these days as we are suffering from some news headline syndrom. Just try to not to go with the flow. Since I'm nitpicking I would like to point out that a few percentages of practical performance certainly isn't 'much' either.

    Can't wait for your Abit KV7 review. :)
  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    I'm beginning to think that the resources of these chipset companies are being spread too thin. Intel only builds for Intel processors (obviously) and NVIDIA only builds for AMD processors (at the moment). Each company is focusing their chipset development on one platform, optimizing it, and consequently delivering top performance for those platforms. VIA, SIS, and ALI are trying to develop chipsets for both platforms. Their Intel chipsets usually share common technology with their AMD chipsets such as memory controllers and southbridges. While this is more cost effective for these companies, it may explain the lower performance of those chipsets because they are not being specifically designed for one platform.
  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    AAAAAAAAH damn... caught my own spelling mistake... abomination :(

  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    "The ASUS A7V600 fortunately provides six IDE slots for expansion cards."

    Hahahahha ! Plase correct this abomication...

  • Anonymous User - Monday, August 18, 2003 - link

    Nice Review,but is the Flash Hell here to stay ?
    Anandtech always had the best print layout,
    why ruin it ? :(
  • ruxandy - Sunday, August 23, 2020 - link

    Well, hello from the future! As it turns out, in 2020, this board is EXTRAORDINARY and nobody really cares about nForce boards anymore :-) Because, even though VIA is 5% slower on average, it more than makes up for this in features and compatibility (ehem, DOS sound, CPU speed throttling, etc).

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