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Gigabyte K8VT890-9 (VIA K8T890 AMD64) Motherboard Review

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket AM3/AM3+ in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 6, 2005 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 7.5%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the GA-K8T890-8 Continued


- The Chipsets



Powering the show is VIA's latest instalment into the AMD Athlon 64 arena, the VIA K8T890 chipset. While looking at the specs we noticed a few issues that we are going to bring to light, now I want to make clear that this is not the fault of Gigabyte but that of VIA.VIA's K8T890 is based on the two chip Northbridge/Southbridge solutions that has worked in the past so well due to the fact the memory controller, graphic interface and system bus interconnects all being located on this chip. However, in the case of the K8T890, a separate Northbridge is simply a waste of silicon and real estate on the motherboard.


As many know, the AMD Athlon 64 uses its own onboard memory controller, which in tern connects to a crossbar that creates a Hypertransport link to the outside world, with this architecture; the AMD64 in affect has its own onboard Northbridge system. This leaves only the graphics interface, which nVidia has shown can be placed into a single chip solution.


Another gripe we have with the K8T890 is the Southbridge. The Southbridge used on the Gigabyte board is the VT8237R Southbridge. Again this isn't the fault of Gigabyte simply because VIA hasn't released a newer Southbridge which was supposed to be released earlier last year. The VT8237 at its time was a great idea, however, with the advancement in technology, it simply falls behind now. There are no PCI-E lanes, only a 6ch AC'97 Audio, no dedicated Gigabit Ethernet interface, only 2 SATA ports and these ports do not support ATAPI devices unlike nVidia, Intel and SiS Southbridge's.


That said, the Gigabyte board does have PCI-E x16 graphics ability and 3 PCI-E x1 ports. These PCI-E are all supported by the Northbridge chipset.



One thing that has come good with the K8T890 chipset usage is PCI-Express and Gigabit Ethernet. Previously, any VIA board with Gigabit Ethernet would have to use a PCI bus solution, resulting in higher CPU usage when Gigabit Ethernet is used. The K8T890 with its PCI-E support allows for the Marvell Yukon Gigabit Ethernet chip to be used until VIA builds in a Gigabit Ethernet Southbridge like nVidia and SiS have done.


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