Hoping to destroy the competition Intel announced and released their 440LX chipset late in 1997 with support for AGP, however that AGP support is limited to the Slot-1 Architecture of the Pentium II since Intel announced that they would not produce an AGP equipped Pentium Chipset. This produced a tremendous opportunity for some of the other chipset manufacturers to step up and satisfy the market. VIA, being the leading contender for Intel's throne, decided to use this to their advantage. The result of their efforts? The VIA Apollo VP3 Chipset, the first AGP capable Pentium Chipset.

Take all of the features of the VP2/97 chipset, double the CPU-to-DRAM Write Buffers, add a full gigabyte of cacheable memory area (which is greater than the 512MB supported by the Pentium II!!!) and AGP support and you get the Apollo VP3 chipset. As the VP2/97 was essentially a combination of the Intel HX and TX chipsets, the VP3 is a combination of the VIA VP2 and the Intel 440LX chipsets. Although the performance of the VP3 has yet to be proven, it will soon by FIC with the release of their PA-2012, the very first Socket-7 AGP Motherboard. VIA has a huge hit on their hands with the combination of the success of the VP2/97 and the imminent success of the VP3 chipset.

Unfortunately there are two significant "let downs" the VP3 chipset leaves us with. The first isn't all that prominent, just that the VP3 doesn't support BEDO DRAM like its predecessors the VP2 and VPX did. Its support for SDRAM as well as DDR-SDRAM does compensate for that shortcoming so it really isn't a huge problem for most users. The big letdown is the lack of a 100MHz bus speed support natively with the VP3 chipset, we will unfortunately have to wait for the next stop in VIA's travels for 100MHz bus speed support with the MVP3 (Mobile VP3).

VIA VT82C Apollo VP3 Chipset
Common Name Apollo VP3
Chipset Packaging Number of chips 2 (VT82C597 System Controller, VT82C586B PCI-to-ISA Bridge)
Packaging Type 1 x 472-pin BGA; 1 x 208-pin QFP
CPU Support Number of CPUs 1
AMD CPUs Supported K5, K6
Cyrix CPUs Supported 6x86 (M1), 6x86MX (M2) w/ Linear Burst Mode
Intel CPUs Supported Pentium, Pentium MMX
Cache Type Synchronous Pipeline Burst Cache
Maximum Supported Size 2048KB
Maximum Cacheable DRAM Area 1GB
Memory Maximum DRAM Supported 1GB
BEDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) N/A
EDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 5-2-2-2
FPM DRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 5-3-3-3
SDRAM Read Timings (66MHz) 3-1-1-1
Data Path to Memory 64-bits
ECC Support Yes
Hard Disk Controller Chip VIA BMIDE Controller (VT82C586B)
Busmastering Support Yes
UltraDMA Support Yes
Max. Theoretical Transfer Rate PIO Mode 5/DMA Mode 3 (33.3MB/S)
PCI Interface Supported PCI Bus Speeds 25, 30, 33 MHz
Concurrent PCI Yes
Async. PCI Bus Speed No
PCI Specification 2.0 (66 MHz max.)
Power Management PC97 Compliance Yes
Suspend to Disk Yes
HDD Power Down Yes
Modem Wakeup Yes
System Suspend Yes
Video AGP Support Yes
Unified Memory Architecture No
Peripheral Support USB Support Yes
Plug and Play Port Yes
Write Buffers CPU-to-DRAM 32 QWords
CPU-to-PCI 6 DWords
PCI-to-DRAM 48 DWords
Officially Supported Bus Speeds 50, 60, 66 MHz
Unofficially Achieved Bus Speeds Unknown


View All Comments

  • vortmax2 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    The good ole' days when you could put multiple vendor CPUs into the same motherboard. So simple... Reply
  • PentiumGeek - Thursday, September 1, 2016 - link

    This motherboard was on my 1st PC. I was very disappointed when faced with the problem that DIMM and SIMM memory can't work in the same time. I used Pentium 100Mhz CPU on this motherboard :) Reply
  • Amadeus777999 - Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - link

    Got an ASUS P2L97 board yesterday and I'm reading through this while DoomII is benchmarking. Good times. Reply
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    Does n e 1 know where I can find a Voltage Regulation Module please Reply
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  • wadew2122 - Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - link

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