VIA PT894 Pro - Workstation
The last chipset we are taking a look at is the VIA PT894 Pro which again is just like the PT880 Pro but uses VIA's "DualGFX Express Implementation" which provides two PCI Express graphics slots on the one board for dual graphics output.
The diagram above shows just how VIA's DualGFX Express Implementation works. The first slot, or the primary slot, provides the full 16 lanes which is perfect for gaming or intense 3D rendering (the 16 lanes provide more bandwidth for the data to pass through) while the second slot provides just 4 lanes which is more suited towards 2D tasks such as monitoring ICQ or sending e-mails. This type of setup is crucial for workstation users such as artists or programmers or just the average Joe who is a fan of multiple monitor setups who needs (read: wants) plenty of desktop space.
Motherboard companies also have the ability to manipulate this chipset and provide two PCI Express graphics slots each with 8 lanes. This type of setup is more suited toward users wanting to span their 3D rendering applications across two monitors and not experience any slow down as you would with one x16 slot and one x4 slot. In a sense you could even consider the PT880 Pro chipset a workstation product (AGP and PCI Express) but it isn't able to offer the same performance which the PT894 Pro can do through two PCI Express graphics slots.
You would expect to see motherboard manufacturers producing retail boards based on the PT894 Pro chipset with DDR-II only (considering it is targeted at the performance workstation market) but yet again through VIA's scalable chipset design, motherboard companies can provide regular DDR support, if they wish. Depending how this product is marketed, it could potentially do very well in the workstation market and again it comes down to what the motherboard companies intend on doing with the chipset.
The benchmark numbers provided to us by VIA show the Intel 925XE chipset only marginally ahead of the PT894 chipset which might make Intel a little nervous and as I've said many times in this article, will heat up the Pentium 4 chipset market quite well.
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