VIA presents KT333
VIA today officially presented the well-known new KT333 chipset. It is the first VIA chipset to support PC2700 RAM (DDR333) and a Front Side Bus (FSB) of 166 MHz and should therefore be the fastest chipset for the Athlon XP.
However, due to the lack of the appropriate Athlon processors, the CPU and RAM run asynchronously, which means that the theoretical additional performance of 25 percent of the PC2700 RAM is reduced to a few percent. The Southbridge VT8233A now also supports the ATA/133 standard as well as hard drives with more than 137 GB capacity and is connected to the Northbridge via V-Link. The KT333 only supports DDR-RAM and can address a maximum of 4 GB PC333 RAM. The clock distribution between CPU and RAM is extremely flexible, so a processor with FSB200 can also be combined with the fast PC333 RAM. At the moment only AGP 4x is implemented in the KT333, AGP 8x will only be available with the KT333A chipset.
The use of the KT333 is worthwhile until Athlon CPUs with an FSB of 166 MHz (FSB333) appear hardly: as Heise found in tests with the ASUS A7V333, the performance advantage of PC2700 over PC2100 RAM is only about three percent. However, this small increase is enough to be a little faster than the Nvidia nForce with the PC2700 equipment, so VIA has taken back the performance crown for the moment.