ASUS A7V600: Feature-Laden – Value-Pricedby Wesley Fink on August 17, 2003 10:27 PM EST
- Posted in
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?