VIA Technologies has been doing worse and worse in the Socket A chipset market throughout the last year. First of all, NVIDIA introduced a really powerful competitor aka nForce2. Besides, VIA has been always postponing the implementation of various innovations. And if the company did try to do anything new, it was not always working from the start. You may recall the story of DDR400 support. We should have seen it in KT400 already, but even KT400A didn’t have it working properly. The latter chipset is probably the biggest blunder VIA has made for years. Although it was pin-compatible with KT400, it also brought very few changes, so many mainboard makers openly refused to use it. Meanwhile, VIA’s major rival for today, NVIDIA, has been successful in promoting its victorious nForce2 chipset: some sources say that this product managed to conquer up to 50% of the entire Socket A chipset market.
However, VIA is not to be considered a total loser. A while ago, the company launched the new chipset – VIA KT600. This product is called for to reverse the company’s fortunes and, particularly, erase this “maker of chipset remakes” blemish off the company’s name. What are the trumps VIA has up the sleeve to regain its supreme position in the market? KT600 supports AMD processors with the 200MHz bus and also features the new South Bridge (VT8237) that, in its turn, features quite good SerialATA 150 support.
As we have already told you in our Modern Socket A Chipsets Roundup, the performance of the new chipset from VIA is not higher than that of nForce2 Ultra 400. However, performance is not the only factor determining the chipset’s success. Other factors include the price of the solution, the cost of implementation in mainboards, characteristics that don’t directly relate to performance and so on. That’s why KT600 can hope for a bright future, although not in the high-end market sector. Enthusiastic users are more likely to prefer nForce2 as showing noticeably higher speed.
Today we are going to review an ASUS A7V600 mainboard to see whether the major mainboard maker could bake up a worthy KT600-based Socket A product.