Computex 2001 - Day 2by Anand Shimpi & Mike Andrawes on June 5, 2001 11:33 AM EST
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VIA’s P4X266 Benchmarked
At VIA’s C3 Ezra press-conference there was a little gem that stole the show from the C3 processor; VIA’s DDR Pentium 4 chipset was up and running.
After only two silicon revisions, the P4X266 is up and running and according to VIA’s benchmarks, the platform is actually outperforming the i850. VIA ran 3DMark 2001 on their P4X266 with a GeForce2 GTS at 1600 x 1200 x 32 and ran the same benchmark on a similarly configured i850 setup (ASUS P4T Motherboard) and came out with two scores: 1391 for the i850 and 1484 for the P4X266. Assuming that VIA didn’t cripple the i850 system on purpose this gives the P4X266, in its current very early beta state, a 7% performance advantage over the i850.
This information directly conflicts with what motherboard manufacturers told us about i845 (Brookdale) DDR being only 15% faster than i845 SDR and still 10% slower than i850. It is very possible that Brookdale isn’t performing up to spec this early or even more likely is that motherboard manufacturers are currently only running at DDR200 speeds in order to remain synchronous with the FSB on the Pentium 4.
VIA shows muscle but not dual processors
As yet another day at Computex came to an end we heard another interesting story from a motherboard manufacturer. It seems like Intel isn’t the only one that knows how to play hard ball when it comes to manipulating motherboard manufacturers. More than one manufacturer reported that VIA offered help in improving the performance of KT266 based solutions if the motherboard makers agreed not to include the SiS 735 chipset in their product lines.
The type of help offered by VIA is in the form of a special performance BIOS as well as updated IDE drivers that are apparently not available as of yet.
There have been rumors of VIA producing a cost effective competitor to the AMD 760MP chipset. And while we have received some confirmation that there have been talks about producing such a chipset, it is currently very low on VIA’s priority list. If a DP Athlon chipset project were to ever surface it would do so around Q2-2002 at earliest.
VIA still is far from being a high-end workstation/server chipset manufacturer. Even AMD is having trouble enough breaking into those markets.