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VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review
VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
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   C. Sun  
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VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Pentium 4 Motherboard Review

Before 2004, when it came to non-Intel based socket 775 Pentium 4 chipsets the only game in town was SiS. nVIDIA was then a purely AMD provider, and VIA was in the midst of many legal battles with Intel over the licenses.

Since then things have settled down between the two and VIA is now producing Pentium 4 chipsets again with Intel's blessing. VIA's PT880 showed the world that while being out of the Intel game for almost a good two years, that absence did not affect VIA's ability to produce a high performance (yet inexpensive) chipset.

When PCstats last looked at VIA's PT880 reference motherboard in January 2004 we were pretty impressed by what we saw, but couldn't help thinking that the chipset was doomed to falter. After all, at the time it was well known that Intel and the rest of the computer industry would quickly be moving towards PCI Express capable platforms. Coming out with a traditional AGP/PCI based chipset so late in the game was simply counter productive. Sales of PT880 based motherboards were few and far between as a result.

This time around VIA has been much quicker to market with the new VIA PT894 northbridge, and the company is poised to steal sales away from Intel's chipset division. Built for Socket 775 Pentium 4's, the VIA PT894 chipset supports 533 MHz, 800 MHz and 1066 MHz FSB processors as well either dual channel DDR 400 and DDR-2 667 memory. In terms of expansion, the VIA PT894 supports up to 20 PCI Express lanes, although there will be no SLI option. The PT894 Pro version will feature two PCI Express x16 slots, but is not slated to be SLI compatible as of yet. VIA's interconnect technology, which is called V-Link, connects the PT894 and new VIA VT8237R southbridge at speeds of 1066 MB/s. A rate which is more than enough for high bandwidth PC devices.

The reference VIA PT894 motherboard that PCstats will be looking at today also comes with a whole host of other goodies; 7.1 audio thanks to the VIA VT1617A codec, an additional two port VIA VT6421L Serial ATA/RAID controller and an integrated VIA VT6655 802.11g wireless NIC.

VIA PT894 Chipset Reference Motherboard


Nothing, this is a reference board and is not available through retail channels.

The VIA PT894 reference board doesn't look like your regular motherboard and this board does not conform to the ATX form factor so you can pretty much forget about installing it into a case. Of course please keep in mind that this board is not meant to be sold to the public, and is only for beta/internal testing.

VIA now uses a flip chip packaging with the PT894 chipset and the little core comes in direct contact with the small aluminum heatsink. During testing we were pleased to see that the chipset didn't produce much heat at all, the Intel 925X/XE/915P chips on the other hand run quite hot and require large cooling solutions. Also the VIA VT8237R only ran mildly warm and does not require any extra cooling unlike the infamous Intel ICH6 series.

The power and reset buttons on the lower right hand corner of the motherboard making testing the motherboard much easier. I wish motherboard manufacturers would make those things standard equipment, well one can always hope!

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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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