Articles: Mainboards
 

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Notwithstanding VIA’s recent announcement of the new KT600 chipset, the previous product from this manufacturer, KT400A, should not be considered out-dated. The functionality of KT400A can satisfy most users as Athlon XP processors for the 200MHz system bus are still not very widely spread in the market (because they belong to the upper price range), while PC2700 memory, with which KT400A operates quite well, and the 166MHz-bus processors are widespread. Another advantage of KT600 (besides its higher system bus frequency) is Serial ATA support, but, in my opinion, it is not a crucial factor: Serial ATA drives are quite rare. By the time they have ousted Parallel ATA altogether, you will probably need to upgrade the mainboard. Moreover, since KT400A is no fresh novelty in the chipset market anymore, it has another advantage: mainboards based on it are going to cost less than KT600-based ones.

So, these are the reasons I wrote this roundup now. We will discuss six mainboards based on the VIA KT400A chipset. After studying their main features, we will talk about our overclocking experience with them and their performance level.

We won’t go into detail about the chipset itself, as we already did it in our MSI KT4 Ultra Mainboard Review. So, let’s jump straight to the mainboards.

Mainboards Specifications

First, let’s have a look at the characteristics of the reviewed mainboards.

 

AOpen

ABIT

DFI

EPoX

Gigabyte

Soltek

CPU

Socket A AMD Athlon XP/Duron

Chipset

VIA KT400A

DDR DIMM slots

3

4

3

AGP slot

AGP 8x

Expansion slots (PCI/ACR/CNR)

6/0/0

6/0/0

5/0/0

5/0/0

5/0/0

6/0/1

USB 2.0 ports

6

6

6

6

6

6

IEEE1394 ports

2

None

3

None

3

None

Additional IDE-controllers

PDC20376

Sil3112A

HPT372N Marvell 88i8030

None

PDC20276,
Sil3112A

None

Serial ATA 150

2 ports

2 ports

1 port

None

2 ports

none

Integrated sound

5.1, ALC650

5.1, CMI9739A

5.1, ALC650

5.1, VIA VT1616

Integrated LAN

10/100 Mbit

10/100 Mbit, 2 controllers

10/100Mbit

Additional features

Voice diagnostic system

-

RAID 1.5

-

External Serial ATA

RedStorm Overclocking

Form-factor

ATX

As you see, the mainboards differ a lot in their features. We have a rather unpretentious Soltek and EPoX boards and a somewhat more functional ABIT next to the masterpieces of the modern engineering thought from AOpen, Gigabyte and DFI. That’s why we cannot directly compare the mainboards among themselves as the latter three products obviously provide richer opportunities. So, the only criterion for comparison is overclocking potential.

Now, we will talk about each mainboard in more detail.

 
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