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VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review

VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The VIA PT894 supports up to 20 PCI Express lanes, although there will be no SLI option.
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: VIA Feb 02 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > VIA PT894

Potential in the PT894!

It's always nice to have options and the the VIA PT894 reference motherboard that we looked at today has a ton of potential. As the platform matures things will only get better, and Intel better take notice if they don't want to lose chipset sales to VIA. The PT894 chipset is on paper a very flexible platform which supports any Socket 775 Pentium 4 processor processor; from the entry level 533 MHz chips to the mainstream 800 MHz and 1066 MHz processors.

The chipset works with both DDR and DDR2 memories, but you cannot run both at the same time (nor can any other chipset for that matter). On the plus side, the VIA PT894 chipset supports a whopping 16GB of RAM! That's four times more memory than what Intel 915/925X/XE motherboards can handle, and excellent news for those looking for a budget database server motherboard!

The VIA PT894 Northbridge has a total of 18 PCI Express lanes available to divy up. Of those, 16 are for the graphics card and two are set aside for PCI Express 1x devices. There are two more PCI Express x1 slots built into the new VT8251 Southbridge if you find you need more. Between the North and Southbridge chips is VIA's Ultra V-Link connection. It has a total of 1066MB/s worth of bandwidth.

The VIA VT8251 Southbridge is as modern as they come, and like the nForce4 MCP on the AMD side of things, it supports the brand new Serial ATA II standard. For extra performance or data security, the VT8251 supports RAID modes 0, 0+1, 1 and 5 but if you'd prefer to use it simply as a SATA controller that works as well.

With the new Serial ATA II standard, the chipset also supports a new feature called Port Multiplier. With the motherboard connected to the appropriate hardware, you have the choice of connecting up to 60 SATA HDD's to the Southbridge! Think of the possibilities!

Performance of the motherboard and its fledgling chipset is okay, but we do expect it to increase with subsequent driver releases. As it stands, the VIA PT894 chipset sometimes performs slower than the competition to around the same level. The values are not off by much, and I suspect that most computer users would have a difficult time differentiating the PT894 with a 925X if both systems were placed side by side.

We didn't have much luck overclocking on this platform, but then again VIA hasn't been very good in this area the last little while. That and reference motherboards generally do not OC very well to begin with. Hopefully retail motherboards based on the VIA PT894 chipset will be able to go faster than the 214 MHz FSB we were limited to.

VIA has a potential winner here if it can get motherboard manufacturers onboard, turning out their wares quickly, and squeeze out some quicker drivers. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com Motherboards News»

 

Contents of Article: VIA PT894
 Pg 1.  VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Look, it's the VIA PT894!
 Pg 3.  System Spec's and Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Super Pi, PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: AquaMark03, Comanche 4, X2: The Threat
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: UT2003, UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 8.  — Potential in the PT894!

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