With everything at stock speeds, the
KT333CE performs about 1-5% faster then the
KT266A chipset which is what we expect. The tide turns
once the FSB is upp'ed to 166 MHz! With the 1/2.5 AGP and
1/5 PCI dividers kicking in at 166 MHz FSB the VIA KT333CE based boards and all
the peripherals in the computer (HDD, Videocard, soundcard, etc) are all running at default speeds
while the VIA KT266A chipset based motherboards are overclocking them all. 3D Performance suffers
quite badly from this, office based benchmarks don't seem to have a big problem though.
This brings up several
questions; is the AGP/PCI divider a good thing? Should dividers be automatic, or should the
user be able to adjust them? Is the 22 MHz difference in
the AGP speed at 166 MHz equal 700 3DMarks? How is the memory controller on
the VIA KT333CE tweaked differently from the KT266A at high speeds?
We're honestly not really sure what to
make of this; while it's great that peripherals run at stock speeds at 166 MHz FSB,
we don't like the performance penalty that is associated with it.
Hitting those high bus speeds is nice but if it is going
to cost 200-300 MB/s worth of bandwidth for both the ALU and FPU is it
really worth it in the long run? In the short term perhaps it is up to
the motherboard manufacturers to allow the user
to adjust the dividers, so they can get the most performance out of their
systems rather then letting it automatic kick in.... perhaps.