VIA C3 Up Close and Personal
First off, we get a look at the entire CPU and the top readings. We see the name and speed of the CPU along with some unused resistor spots.
This shot shows us the underside of the VIA C3. We see the batch number, wafer number, stepping codes and the 1.35v CPU core voltage setting, making this CPU the lowest voltage CPU on the market.
The Test Platform board, MSI's MS-6368 PLE133T board
Now we get a look at the board and layout that VIA supplied for the reference testing. This board is manufactured by MSI and is a standard Micro ATX motherboard with 0/3/1/1 (AGP/PCI/Riser/ISA) Layout. One of the most interesting things concerning this board is the use of the ISA slot; indeed, supporting any legacy ISA devices.
Powered by the VIA Apollo PLE133T Northbridge and VT82C686B Southbridge, this board comes with integrated Trident 3D Blade Video onboard that uses system memory for video texture storage. This Shared Memory Architecture design has proven to be a huge letdown in the past. Using a board with external video or a better video core would help the VIA C3's changes, but we are left with what we are given. Using the 686B Southbridge you get ATA-100 IDE support and 4 USB ports, so there is no shortage here. Along with this you also get AC'97 audio; perfect for a PC on a budget.
The MSI sample board also comes with onboard LAN, another excellent for budget PC's. Not only can you have a normal modem, but you can hook this system up to a LAN or Broadband modem too.
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