PT800 / VT8237 in Detail
- PT800 Northbridge
The PT800 carries over the new FastStream64 Technology, instead of simply placing Dual Channel support on to their latest chipset, VIA has chosen to optimize Single Channel memory to the max. The PT800 has full support for DDR 266/333/400 and depending on what processor you are running FSB 400/533/800. While Dual Channel is theoretically twice as fast, we will soon see if the single channel road VIA has chosen to take will affect how it goes when it comes to performance.
The PT800 Northbridge also includes support for AGP 8X as you would expect as well as support for the 400/533/800MHz processors while the Canterwood doesn't support older 400MHz processors. The main feature to the Northbridge is the implementation of the FastStream64 Technology and what VIA are putting all their money on (figuratively speaking, of course) to compete against Intel's current chipsets.
- VT8237 Southbridge
The PT800 uses that latest Southbridge as seen on new KT600 motherboards recently released to the market. Known as the VT8237, it carries a host of features for the Pentium 4.
The newest feature to the Southbridge is what VIA has dubbed "VIA Drivestation" which gives support for 4 X PATA hard drives at ATA 66/100/133 as well as 2 X SATA hard drives at a maximum of 150Mbps which the option to support two extra drives with an add-on bracket which retail PT800 motherboards will probably (hopefully) include.
Serial ATA RAID can be setup in RAID 0 or RAID 1 depending on what you want out of a RAID system - performance or redundancy. We will be looking more in-depth at the Serial ATA software and the setup of it later on in the review.
The Southbridge also has support for 8 X USB 2.0 ports 6 X PCI slots as well as your standard PS2 ports and so forth. VIA's latest onboard audio technology is known as "VIA Vinyl Audio" and supports six or eight channel sound. Six or eight channel sound equates to 5.1 or 7.1 in surround sound terms.
- PT800 compared to P4X400
The P4X400 was VIA's last chipset for the Pentium 4 and we can see exactly what they changed from the following table which was ripped directly from the VIA website.