VIA has had a difficult time recently in the Intel chipset market. After making great in-roads since the Intel Rambus/i820 setbacks, VIA stubbornly stuck to a course that created a legal battle with Intel over licensing. They continued to produce decent chipsets for Pentium, but manufacturers wouldn't touch the chipsets due to legal concerns. Instead, manufacturers chose either Intel or the licensed SiS chipsets for their Pentium 4 boards. The legal problems with Intel were resolved eventually, but by that time, Intel had moved the chipset world to Dual-Channel memory.

With that shift to Dual-Channel memory, VIA seemed to have a difficult time producing a Dual-Channel solution for either Intel or AMD, and they continued to lose market share to Intel, SiS and nVidia. Finally, with last September's introduction of the Athlon 64, VIA was back with AMD. The K8T800 proved to be a decent and good-selling chipset in both the single-channel and dual-channel versions. It is true that the memory controller with Athlon 64 is on the CPU itself, but VIA had a new modern 8237 Southbridge that could now compete with the best from Intel. With the renewed success in the Athlon 64 market, VIA once again set their sights on the Pentium 4 chipset market. The VIA PT880 chipset is VIA's first dual-channel solution for Intel, and VIA has been very excited about prospects for the chipset.

Soltek is the first shipping PT880 chipset board that we have seen, but there will likely be more boards based on the PT880 in the near future. Soltek decided to give the PT880 a top-of-the-line treatment with the launch of their newest PRO series, and this is certainly the most feature-laden Soltek board that we have ever tested. Soltek even includes dual SATA RAID options, and a single IDE RAID connector - options that are more reminiscent of a top-line Asus board.

A Closer Look at VIA PT880


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  • snide23 - Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - link

    RE: how did it work - so far it is working great, but there appears to be an issue with the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro running at AGP 8X setting, though. Reply
  • yak8998 - Monday, February 23, 2004 - link

    I skimmed through the article, and was very pleased, especially about the price/features. But then I read about the trashy OC abilities. If they can get this chipset to overclock like an 865/875 board it will be one of the best chipsets to date (and they have to keep the price low) Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, February 23, 2004 - link

    PT880 is kind of an intermediate chipset, i am more interested in pt890.

  • GonzoDaGr8 - Monday, February 23, 2004 - link

    Snide, How did that PT880 work out for ya? Reply
  • snide23 - Monday, February 23, 2004 - link

    Odd that this is the first board they have seen with the PT880 chipset. NewEgg has been selling the MSI Neo PT880 for a while now. I have already built one system with it. Reply

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