VIA's ProSavage PM133 chipset was the basis for quite a few motherboard designs on display at Computex. The PM133 is basically an Apollo Pro 133A with an integrated modified Savage4 AGP core. The Savage4 core was modified to feature the 2D engine of the Savage2000 while using the 3D core of the Savage4.

Just like the i815/815E, the PM133 features support for an external AGP graphics adapter so the integrated graphics can be disabled by either using a PCI or an AGP video card. Providing the AGP slot on a PM133 based board is optional and although all the PM133 based boards we saw had an AGP slot it is still up to the particular motherboard manufacturer or OEM order as to whether or not there will be an AGP slot on board.

In order to offer motherboard manufacturers the greatest flexibility, VIA will begin supplying manufacturers with a new revision of the Apollo Pro 133A chipset's North Bridge, the 694Z (the current part is the 694X). The 694Z only differs from the 694X in that it is pin compatible with the 552-pin 605 North Bridge of the PM133 chipset. By giving manufacturers a pin compatible part VIA is allowing them to create one motherboard design and use either the 133A or the PM133 interchangeably.

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As far as pricing goes, the PM133 is set at $40 in OEM quantities which is slightly above the $39.50 price tag Intel's i810E carried upon its initial release but will most likely weigh in just under the OEM cost of an 815E. The true question is, would you rather go for the integrated video of Intel's 815 or the Savage4 core present on the PM133? Three words worth considering while answering that question: drivers, drivers and drivers.

VIA owned the show Athlon Info

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