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Posted: February 18, 2001
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
This review was intended to be a solo review of the new Asus A7V133 motherboard but I decided that it would be a good idea to contrast both the A7V and the new A7V133 so everyone can see what the differences are.
Before going all out and saying that the A7V133 is the winner, I want to say that there is no winner. The A7V series are partitioned into different user markets and consequently come with different features. A person who has no use for RAID and wants to buy a Duron gaming system obviously has no use for the A7V133 but the A7V would suite him or her quite well.
Since I just did a review on the Iwill KK266, I wonít go over the specifications of the VIA KT133A chipset too much; if you want to read it, jump over to that review -- the KK266 is a great board too. So with that said, letís move forward.
A Little Bit About Asus
If you havenít heard of Asus before, you better get to know it quickly because itís one of the worldís largest motherboard suppliers. Asus also produces other computer equipment such as high-end laptops, CD/DVD drives, cases, servers, graphics cards, SCSI cards, and network cards just to name a few. Theyíve been around for years and the Asus name is well respected internationally.
If you want to learn more about Asus and what they do, surf over to their website here and look around; Iím sure youíll find something that will impress you.
If youíve been with the computer world for more than 4 years, youíll know that Intel was once the dominant supplier of both chipsets and processors. But itís a new century, and a new time, and like all things, the best canít stay the best forever. Along came a company named VIA Technologies that had a determined mission and VIA set out to rise.
Today, VIA chipsets can be found in motherboards worldwide and donít fall behind Intelís offerings by any means. If itís features and performance youíre looking for, VIA has what you want -- and more. Just recently, VIA acquired Cyrix, a company known for its poor performing Intel-alternative processors. Whether or not VIA can turn Cyrix into a real contender or not remains to be seen. When it comes to chipsets however, VIA has it made.
The KT133 Series
When AMD released its Socket A processors, VIA was quick to jump onto the bandwagon along with Ali, creating an enormous platform for the Thunderbird and Duron processors. VIA dished out its fabulous KT133 chipset which offered the following features:
200MHz DDR FSB
Thunderbird/Duron support up to 1GHz and above
Up to 1.5GB PC100/133 VC (virtual channel) or standard SDRAM
Native UltraATA 66 support
Full AGP 2X/4X
The KT133 chipset quickly became the pinnacle chipset for AMD users seeking performance, stability and compatibility. After a few months, users demanded more and AMD also released more. As expected, VIA has now released a revved up version of the KT133, the KT33A. It now supports the following features:
200/266MHz DDR FSB
Thunderbird (200 or 266)/Duron support up to 1.2GHz and above
Native UltraATA 100 support
The most noticeable change is the higher FSB support and finally, UltraATA 100 support. There isnít any real change and wonít be until VIA releases its KT266 chipset. Iím feeling the upgrading itch all the time -- itís insane.