What to look for in a KT133A motherboard

In order for everything to function properly under Windows 98/ME or Windows 2000, you should be sure to install the latest VIA 4-in-1 drivers. At the time of publication, that is 4.30, which includes several bug fixes and performance enhancements. You should also check closely to see if there are any BIOS updates for your motherboard. Most of the time, you can find this information on the manufacturer's homepage.

When it comes to overclocking, multiplier ratio settings are no longer a luxury, but rather an expected and necessary feature. Now that there is official support for FSB speeds of 133MHz, FSB overclocking ability has become a major focus.

Other overclocking features such as voltage tweaking, are also something we have to consider, since they contribute to the overall stability of an overclocked system.

As mentioned previously, the KT133A officially supports a 133MHz FSB, and can push 160MHz in overclocked form. With that in mind, traditional PC133 SDRAM is often not good enough to handle such a high FSB. Typical PC133 SDRAM should be able to run around 143MHz at CAS 3.

Unfortunately, there is no industry standard memory specification higher than 133MHz, so any "PC150" memory you see out there is likely nothing more than a PC133 DIMM with faster chips installed. Fortunately, most of these higher speed modules do indeed work fine at the speeds they are rated for and are a must if you want to push your FSB to the max.

Several companies have released PC150 memory, and the one we have been using in the AnandTech labs is Mushkin's High Performance Rev. 3 memory. The memory chips are still rated as 7.5ns (133MHz), but they are handpicked and pretested at 150MHz CAS 2. Our tests show that this memory is able to run at 163MHz CAS 3 reliably. This should be more than enough to overclock your KT133A motherboard without having the memory become a bottleneck.

One last thing to look for in terms of overclocking is the multiplier "issue" that has been encountered on some KT133A motherboards. The topic is a bit intricate, so read our complete article if you want all the details and a solution. Basically, the problem arises on boards that have a 100/133MHz jumper, in conjunction with a 100MHz FSB CPU overclocked to 133MHz FSB with a lower multiplier. The result is that the system does not POST at all when powered on. We'll let you know in this roundup which boards have this "issue" and which have solved it.

Of course, we will also look at our standard stability tests, which compare the number of crashes in 24 hours while running a system stress loop. Remember that not all crashes in the stress test are fatal, and many would go unnoticed by the user. Also remember that this is a stress test and is much tougher on the system than anything a single user could apply in the same time period.

For each individual motherboard, we will also consider its unique features including layout, expansion slot configuration, extra features like IDE RAID controller and diagnostic tools. Now without further ado, let's start looking at the candidates.

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