"WOW" is one word that comes to mind after testing these four chipsets. Who would have thought that ALI and SIS, the two under dog companies, who would be least expected to have a performance chip on their hands, come out on top? VIA have a very nice chipset on their hands and while it isn't the fastest this isn't necessarily a big problem. The impressive VT8237 Southbridge helps bring some excellent features to the Athlon 64 market and people will be willing to sacrifice a small amount of performance for this over the other chipsets which don't carry as many features. It would be most interesting to see a manufacturer couple the SIS 755 Northbridge and VIA VT8237 Southbridge together on the one motherboard.
The last thing we expected was the nForce 3 chipset to come last overall. Maybe it didn't like the ATI Radeon 9800 XT but we won't hold it against them or suggest claims we can't backup with evidence. With time we are sure that the chipset from our friends at nVidia will mature and performance increases may be achievable with new drivers. In the event this is true - VIA, ALI and SIS could also get performance increases with drivers which will keep nVidia trailing. Only time will tell.
ALI and SIS come out of nowhere to create two excellent chips. Considering the SIS motherboard is purely reference it will be interesting to see what this chip is capable of when the right motherboard manufacturers get their hot little hands on it and push it to the maximum - which we are just itching to see!
VIA and nVidia both have excellent driver support going for them and in the long run this could hurt the ALI and SIS chipset - fingers crossed that SIS and ALI both try their hardest to increase performance through excellent driver support like we see from VIA and nVidia.
It looks like nVidia's single chip design isn't anything fantastic and with the lack of Sound Storm it doesn't have a lot going for it. ALI and SIS have cut the performance crown in half and both are fighting each other for the other half. Finally VIA carries some excellent features and while not seen on this particular motherboard, the ABIT KV8-MAX3 is a perfect example of what you can do with a motherboard when the right people get a hold of it and take things to the "MAX".
These motherboards give you a good idea of how the chips perform in a default environment. Watch out for the coming weeks before Christmas to see what some of these chipsets do when combined with a full retail package and all the bells and whistles to drive that price tag up there.
SIS has an overall winner at the moment but only time will tell if it's going to stay in front when we start seeing retail motherboards hit store shelves. Right now though it's fantastic to see the under dogs coming out on top for a change!
- SIS 755 Chipset takes the Performance award:
- VIA K8T800 takes the Features award:
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