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VIA K8T800 Chipset Preview - Dual Opteron in Action

By: Shawn Baker | AMD CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 25, 2003 4:00 am



While we didn't get the chance to test the full potential of the chipset due to software limitation, there is no doubt in our minds that the Opteron will make for a very capable graphics station/server solution. The K8T800 helps bring the much needed AGP 8X to the processor and now can be used as a hardcore gamer's machine, as well.


While we noticed that two processors are currently slower than a single processor, it will be interesting to see how much difference there is when more demanding games get released to the market, for example Doom 3 - to say the very least. The Opteron processor is going to be out of reach for a lot of people and we are going to find that more people will be looking at the Athlon 64 or Athlon FX which don't have support for SMP.


The Dual Opteron solution is going to give people big bragging rights. For this reason, you will find that people with extra cash wanting to buy one of these setups, will be going straight for a set of 244 Opteron processors or the newly released 246 (2GHz) processor, which currently cost almost two grand US for a pair - not for the faint-hearted!


It will be interesting to see what happens when more companies release motherboards with the K8T800 chipset but it won't be a hit with the enthusiast market due to the limitation of ECC memory given the added cost and lack of overclockability of the type of RAM.


Overall we have a very cool setup and VIA have done an excellent job with the K8T800; one of the best features would have to be the implementation of the VT8237 Southbridge as it carries with it a lot of very cool features including DriveStation.


As far as we have seen, it's not a gamer's platform due to the limitation in SMP supported games at the moment and the sheer cost of the platform. While such games as Quake 3 may support SMP, it's more relevant in a server situation; the load balancing will be a lot better giving the computer the ability to run more game servers off one PC. A similar Dual Opteron setup handled the QuakeCon 2003 servers beautifully: we got a chance to see just how well today with VIA's solution. Here we have one rock solid setup and it will be interesting to see what AMD, VIA, nVidia and other chip companies have in store for us in the wonderful world of 64-bit computing over the next 12 months as we just begin to scratch the surface.


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