VIA has taken the biggest back seat in the hardware industry that we have ever seen. Once the biggest saviour to AMD, VIA barely gets a mention these days.
VIA's big claim to fame was when Slot A showed its face. AMD only had its 750 chipset to support it, and even this chipset wasn't what you would call a monster performer. It had bugs that prevented it working with GeForce 256 cards in AGP 2x mode. Its overall stability was extremely poor, not to mention AMD wasn't equipped to put out enough chipsets to satisfy demand from the motherboard manufacturers.
VIA came to the party with the first K7 supporting chipset, known as the KX133 - it brought the first 133MHz memory bus, AGP 2x support and a general overall stability to the K7 platform - both AMD and VIA benefited immensely from this with Intel having to sit this one out on the side lines.
When Socket A made its debut VIA simply reworked the KX133 chipset to work with the new socket and called it the KT133 in reference to the Thunderbird core CPU it was to support.
VIA's performance was far better than AMD's and even managed to kick SiS off the charts. It wasn't till nVidia decided to get into the AMD chipset market that VIA found itself in trouble. nVidia had better R&D, were willing to spend more money to invest and it seemed like an overall better strategy. This forced VIA to produce some chips that weren't up to scratch such as the KT333, KT400 and KT400A.
VIA did make a slight return with the KT600 and KT880 but too little too late as K8 now was the big thing coming, and nVidia already had its hands into this pot.
While VIA hasn't been able to take the performance crown from the chipset giant nVidia, it doesn't mean they have stopped their production of chipsets. It has been some time since anything VIA has hit out shores here at TweakTown and we are going to give the first board we have here based on the K8T890 chipset a real going over.
We test Foxconn's K8T890M2AA-KRS2H and compare it against the nForce 570 chipset to see just what this chipset does have on offer. Is VIA back in business? We'll find out shortly!
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