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nForce 2 and KT400 in a duel: Asus A7N8X Deluxe against EPoX 8RDA + and EP-8K9A2 +

nForce 2 and KT400 in a duel: Asus A7N8X Deluxe against EPoX 8RDA + and EP-8K9A2 +

The chipsets

We don’t want to make any big talk about the chipsets at this point, because we have already examined the nForce 2 in detail in our preview and there is not much to report about the KT400 - surely astonishing for one or the other reader.

nForce 2 SPP
nForce 2 MCP-T

If you want to find out more about the nForce 2 from nVidia, you can do so in our article 'nForce 2 - Doping for the Athlon?' do.

And why there not to say too many words about the KT400? Well, in the end, its innovations compared to the KT333 are limited to exactly two properties: AGP 8x and a new Southbridge - the VT8235 . But wait! Unfortunately, this is only half the story, because resourceful manufacturers such as EPoX or MSI already had KT333 mainboards with the new Southbridge on offer. Compared to its predecessor, the VT8233A, this brought eight so-called INT lines so that, although four of them were reserved for the on-board components, the conflicts on the PCI bus could be sustainably reduced. From now on, USB 2.0 no longer had to be implemented via an extra controller. However, an extension was not available for the time being. The VT8235 doubled the connection between north and south bridge theoretically from 266MB/s to 533MB/s. However, since the KT333 could not do anything with this yet, this feature remains unused for the time being and has now officially found its way into the KT400.

KT400 Northbridge
VT8235

The only real innovation that remains is the doubling of the data transfer rate of the AGP slot to AGP8x. But even here, the net profit for home users is rather limited. Because in times when AGP4x does not usually have a measurable advantage over AGP2x and the memory capacity of current graphics cards tends from 64MB to 128MB, the data transfer rate of AGP8x (3.0), doubled to 2GB/s, is of little use. Initial tests only showed performance increases in professional rendering programs or the benchmarksuit Spec viewperf based on them. OneThere are really successful articles on the subject of AGP8x at Planet3DNow! .

And why then KT400? Well, there is a simple explanation here too. VIA originally planned to officially give the KT400 the support of DDR400. But this project could not be put into practice and an excuse was quickly used: 'Since there is no official standard for DDR400, it will not be officially supported with the KT400'. Strange that the KT333 was supporting DDR333 months before it was finally signed off by JEDEC. Even more tricky, since nVidia enables DDR400 with the nForce 2 without major restrictions, while manufacturers often only release the KT400 with one module for DDR400.

Enough theory, let's now turn to the three test candidates.

On the next page: Asus A7N8X Deluxe