There we have it, VIA's latest chipset against their biggest competitor, the I865 and I875. The PT800 is going to be the best motherboard for a lot of people for a few reasons:
The chipset is the cheapest out of the lot yet this doesn't show when it comes to performance. You will not have to purchase 2 X memory modules to get maximum performance out of the PT800 either, this helps bring down your overall system price so people will find themselves being able to purchase a better video card or faster memory with the money they save, for example.
While the chipset isn't faster than the I875, the slight lacking is not something you will notice when playing games or just moving around the desktop. It's good to see that VIA has made the most of their new patent agreement with Intel and it's just as interesting to see just how much you can get out of a Single Channel setup when a chipset manufacturer spends a little time optimizing it to the max.
Again it's good to see that VIA have put the time into getting the most out of this configuration as it will be cheaper for people based on the current price of the chipset. Instead of heading down the Dual Channel path which does give a significant increase in the ever unpopular synthetic area and will become increasingly important later in the year when Doom III and Half Life II are released, as soon as we start looking at real world performance, right now, the difference is extremely minor, and equates to the margin of difference between each third party motherboards.
While most enthusiasts will still choose to go the down the Canterwood road, it will be interesting to see what happens as soon as we start seeing the release of retail motherboards based on the PT800 which will bring with it a host of features, added performance boost and all the little BIOS adjustments we need to get maximum potential out of the VIA's newest chipset when it comes to overclocking the RAM and CPU.
Overall we see a chipset that wasn't designed to compete with the I865 or I875 in "performance" yet we were pleasantly surprised to find that it had absolutely no trouble keeping pace with the retail Intel based motherboards we placed up against it. Due to excellent pricing retail motherboards will carry, we feel that the PT800 deserves our Editor's Choice Award for an all round solid chipset which will sell very well for VIA as they bring themselves back to the levels we saw them at 18 or so months ago before Intel interrupted their rhythm.
Just behind the more expensive Springdale and Canterwood
Excellent Single Channel optimization
Fast SATA RAID with VIA VT8237 Southbridge
No Dual Channel - but is it really needed, right now?
Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice