PT880 in Detail
The VIA PT880 is the latest chipset design from VIA to support the latest 400, 533 and 800MHz FSB Intel processors. This includes the Celeron, Pentium 4 at 400MHz FSB, 533MHz FSB and 800MHz including the latest Hyper-Threading Technology and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition CPU's.
The PT880 Northbridge incorporates the latest memory controller from VIA. This is also a milestone for VIA as it introduces their very first Dual Channel DDR memory controller which is designed using VIA's latest latency reduction technology called Dual Stream64. This new technology is designed to reduce the latency inherent to 128bit memory interface. And then we even have a new memory prefetcher system designed to anticipate the next memory transactions to reduce the required time the system needs to access critical data. DualStream64 also allows for the system to run the memory asynchronously. This means you can use different speed RAM to the FSB.
For example, if you have a 533MHz FSB Pentium 4 CPU and 400MHz DDR SDRAM, you can set your memory bus to 400MHz while keeping the CPU at 533MHz. This allows you to get the full 6.4GB/s memory transfers allowing for much higher system performance.
Added to the already impressive features list, VIA continue their support for AGP revision 3.0. This means that the PT880 Northbridge supports AGP 4x 1.5v or AGP 8x 0.9v cards.
With a new Northbridge comes a new Southbridge. The VIA VT8237 Southbridge is the latest innovative design to come from VIA. While VIA has updated the V-MAP Southbridge from the VT8233 to VT8235, the VT8237 is a truly new Southbridge from VIA. It boosts its support for USB 2.0 ports from six up to eight ports split over three different controllers which allows combined 480Mbps transfers per controller. Along with this, VIA includes its new AC'97 audio link revision 2.2. This link supports 5.1 channel audio streams. While this does give good audio, VIA includes a link for its Envy24HT PCI controller. This means adding the Envy24HT is seamlessly as using an AC'97 audio codec.
Continuing, VIA adds its support for Native Serial ATA. One two channel Serial ATA host controller is built into the Southbridge with a direct link to the upstream hub. This allows for the full 150MB/s per port transfers to be initiated without putting any strain on the PCI or IDE bus. Support for RAID function 0, 1 0+1 and JBOD is included.
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