EPoX 8KHA + with KT266A in the test: A mainboard like no other

EPoX 8KHA + with KT266A in the test: A mainboard like no other


After the DDR RAM chipsets SiS735, ALi MAGiK1, VIA KT266 and AMD760 in our last reviews a more or less hard and close fight for have delivered the top position in the benchmark rankings and in the end the SiS chip was able to place itself ahead of the competition from AMD, VIA and ALi, we have now received a board with the '2. Revision 'of the KT266, the KT266A. Three months ago we had already examined the KT266 with the aid of the 8KHA board from EPoX, what could be more obvious than this time using the successor, the 8KHA +, from the same company. At this point we would like to thank EPoX for providing the test sample. VIA itself is promoting the KT266A as a significant step in the development of Socket A DDR chipsets. The review will show whether the chipset is praised and can live up to its already excellent reputation.

The chipset: VIA KT266A

The KT266A is the revised version of the KT266, VIA's first chipset for the DDR RAM Socket A platform. What VIA is now finallyhas pushed for a new edition of the chipset cannot be determined with 100% certainty. The fact is, however, that the KT266 was in dire straits by both the AMD 760s and the SiS735. Both chips performed slightly to significantly better in most applications. The SiS735 was and is also available for a fraction of the KT266 price. According to rumors, the pressure on VIA became so scary that it was decided to offer the KT266 for the price of the SiS735. The revision KT266A should therefore finally seize the crown of the socket A chipsets with clear facts. The new revision benefits from its pin-compatible structure. The chip can therefore be used at least in theory without changing the layout on any circuit board on which the KT266 has already done its work. The differences between the two versions are therefore practically invisible from the outside. The features of the chipset therefore still look as follows on paper.

The north and south bridge in comparison
Comparison point SiS735 AMD760 KT266A MAGiK 1 Supported CPUs (AMD) Duron/Athlon Duron/Athlon Duron/Athlon Duron/Athlon Socket Socket A Socket A Socket A Socket A CPU Front Side Bus 200/266 MHz 200/266 MHz 200/266MHz 200/266MHz Memory type DDR Yes Yes Yes Yes SDR Yes - Yes Yes VC -SDRAM - - Yes - RAM clock SDR 100/133MHz Yes/Yes - Yes/Yes Yes/Yes DDR 200/266MHz Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Asynchronous operation Yes No Yes Yes Maximum memory expansion 1.5 GB 4 GB 4 GB 3 GB DIMM slots 3 (6 banks) 4 (8 banks) 4 (8 banks) 3 (6 banks) AGP 2x/4x yes/yes yes/yes yes/yes yes/yesExtras I/O Link (1GB/s) Super Bypass V-Link (266MB/s) - PCI slots 6 6 6 5 ISA bus - Yes - - ATA 33/66/100 Yes Yes Yes Yes USB ports 6 4 6 6 Integrated modem solution Yes Yes Yes Yes Integrated sound solution Yes Yes Yes Yes AMR/CNR Yes Yes Yes Yes Lan Yes - Yes No

As already mentioned, VIA has not given the chipset any additional features that Changes are in the details. While the Southbridge VT8233 corresponds exactly to the version of the KT266, the Northbridge VT8366A is now in revision 'A'. Not much is known about the modifications, but what is certain is that the memory controller in particular must have received a proper update. For a while, rumors even assumed that VIA had given the KT266A the memory controller of the Pentium 4 chipset P4X266. Regardless of the way in which, the changes brought about an enormous reduction in latency times (delays in sending data) and the extension of so-called 'queues' - more data can be buffered and sent at the same time, and data throughput increases. The 'V-Link', which allows the north and south bridges to communicate via their own line, is said to have been slightly revised. In this review, we now had to clarify what effects these possibly seemingly rather meager appearing innovations have on practice.

But let's now, without further ado, focus on our test candidate, the EPoX 8KHA +. If you still want more information about North and South Bridge at this point, we refer you to our EPoX vs QDI Review , in which we have examined the topic in detail.

On the next page: Scope of delivery