A Busy Year
Already the year 2000 has brought with it more chipset introductions than we can remember in recent history. Just think about it, in only nine months we've witnessed the introduction of three new chipsets from VIA: Apollo Pro 133A (motherboards based on this chipset widely became available in February of this year), KX133, and, just recently, VIA's Socket A KT133 chipset.
Not to be outdone (and to offer more competition with Apollo Pro133A), Intel released their 815 chipset earlier this summer. We've already taken a look at a few motherboards based on this chipset, and are fairly impressed with its combination of features and performance.
Over the course of the next two months we'll see even more chipset introductions from all the major manufacturers on both Intel and AMD platforms. As a result, we're pretty sure another chipset shootout will be required before this year is out!
With so many chipsets to choose from, things can get pretty confusing if you don't keep up with the latest happenings in the industry. We'll provide a quick recap of what's available on the AMD and Intel platforms before we discuss some of the newer chipsets in greater detail.
The AMD platform is the easiest to cover so we'll start with it first. If you're looking for the latest and greatest chipset to go along with your shiny new Athlon "Thunderbird" processor, VIA's KT133 chipset is the only game in town. As you probably know by now, the newer Thunderbird cores contain 256K of L2 cache integrated on the processor core (among other improvements), and a new interface, Socket A. The 462-pin interface will replace Slot A over the course of the next few months. Already, AMD's low-cost Duron processor is solely manufactured for Socket A.
In case you were wondering, Slot A Thunderbird processors do work with KX133 motherboards. At speeds above 950MHz however, soldering certain resistors on the given motherboard is sometimes necessary for optimal stability. Older motherboards based on AMD's 750 chipset are fully compatible with AMD's entire range of Thunderbird processors. We've covered the KX133 and AMD-750 chipset in older comparisons so we focused solely on the KT133 chipset for this article.