While Intel accepted the fact that they had the sole production of Slot-1 chipset solutions in their hands, VIA was working hard, both on the legal and engineering ends of things, to produce the perfect Slot-1 compatible chipset they could possibly produce, the results?  The VIA Apollo Pro chipset.

Supporting all of the features of the Intel 440BX AGPSet, the Apollo Pro is much more than an alternative to the BX Chipset as it brings much more than AGP and SDRAM support to the game.  Support for 5 PCI master devices (compared to the 3 PCI masters on Intel chipsets) make the Apollo Pro ideal for an ISA Slot-less motherboard, in theory, with the use of an additional PCI-to-PCI bridge, a motherboard featuring 7 PCI slots could be constructed although only 6 of them would be usable at one time as long as a card populated the AGP slot.  Expect to see a minimum of 5 PCI slots on most Apollo Pro based motherboard solutions.  In addition to that, the Apollo Pro, like the VIA MVP3, does support the operation of the memory bus at an external frequency identical to that of the AGP Clock.  Meaning you can run your memory banks at the 66MHz Front Side Bus, while your processor's speed is derived from the 100MHz FSB.   This will allow you to re-use your old PC66 DIMMs and even your old EDO/FP DIMMs so long as they work at the 66MHz FSB. 

The Apollo Pro's supported DRAM types extends far beyond the normal EDO/FP/SDRAM list, to include DDR (Double Data Rate) SDRAM.  While this looks wonderful on paper, the absence of DDR SDRAM in the mainstream market will keep that feature from becoming a reason to opt for an Apollo Pro based board over an Intel chipset based model.  Expect performance of Apollo Pro based Pentium II boards to be at least on par with that of well designed BX motherboards, with the first boards shipping in the next month or two we should soon be able to find out if the Apollo Pro is everything it is cracked up to be.  

A downside to the Apollo Pro is that, unlike the Intel LX/BX/GX series, you must use VIA's own AGP GART drivers to get the full benefit of the supported AGP port which may introduce some issues with future video cards and chipsets, nothing that a simple driver patch won't fix but something to keep in mind.

VIA Apollo Pro Chipset
Common Name VIA Apollo Pro Chipset
Chipset Packaging Number of chips 1 (VT82C691 North Bridge)
Packaging Type 1 x 492-pin BGA
CPU Support Number of CPUs 1
AMD CPUs Supported N/A
Cyrix CPUs Supported N/A
Intel CPUs Supported Pentium II, Pentium Pro
Cache Type N/A on chip
Maximum Supported Size N/A on chip
Maximum Cacheable DRAM Area N/A on chip
Memory Maximum DRAM Supported 1GB
BEDO DRAM Read Timings (100MHz) N/A
EDO DRAM Read Timings (100MHz) X-2-2-2
FPM DRAM Read Timings (100MHz) X-4-4-4
SDRAM Read Timings (100MHz) X-1-1-1
Data Path to Memory 64-bits
ECC Support Yes
Hard Disk Controller Chip VT82C596 South Bridge
Bus Mastering Support Yes
UltraDMA Support Yes
Max. Theoretical Transfer Rate PIO Mode 5/DMA Mode 3 (33.3MB/S)
PCI Interface Supported PCI Bus Speeds 30, 33 MHz
Async. PCI Bus Speed No
PCI Specification 2.1 (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 (66/133)
Unified Memory Architecture No
Peripheral Support USB Support Yes
Plug and Play Port Yes
Officially Supported Bus Speeds 66, 100 MHz
Unofficially Achieved Bus Speeds 112, 124MHz


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
  • rogerjowett - Sunday, May 17, 2020 - link

    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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