Gigabyte GA-K8VT800 (VIA K8T800)
Gigabyte Technology prepared well enough for the arrival of AMD Athlon 64. This is our first roundup of Socket754 mainboards and we already have three products from that company. This is the reason of Gigabyte’s success. The company has several lines of products greatly differing in price – from budget to high-end solutions. The Gigabyte GA-K8NNXP is based on the VIA K8T800 chipset and belongs to the inexpensive series.
As you can see from the photo above, they made a universal PCB for their Socket754 mainboards on the VIA K8T800. The Gigabyte GA-K8NNXP is the simplest representative of the family – there are empty spaces in the PCB for onboard chips. For example, it is possible to add FireWire and ATA/133 RAID controller as well as a second flash-memory chip for DualBIOS technology. But this would give us another product, the GA-K8VT800 Pro. Since both versions have the same PCB and very similar BIOSes, everything we will now say about the Gigabyte GA-K8NNXP can be applied to the advanced GA-K8VT800 Pro as well.
Actually, the GA-K8VT800 has nothing superfluous about itself. There is only one extra controller, 10/100 Ethernet Realtek RTL8100C. Gigabyte didn’t use the network capabilities of the South Bridge for obvious reasons. The Gigabyte GA-K8VT800 Pro, on the same PCB, carries a Gigabit Ethernet Realtek RL8110S controller. By using the Realtek RTL8100C chip (pin-compatible with the RL8110S) on the GA-K8VT800, the manufacturer didn’t have to bother about designing another wiring layout for the physical-level controller, necessary to implement the networking capabilities of the VT8237 South Bridge.
Gigabyte also refused the recommended AC’97 codec from VIA. Instead, they used a more advanced codec from Realtek, ALC658 (six channels, SPDIF in- and output, AC’97 specification version 2.3). Therefore, the audio subsystem of the Gigabyte GA-K8VT800 supports Jack Sensing and Universal Audio Jack technologies. Those technologies serve for automatic detection of connected audio peripherals and for assigning the operational mode for the audio connectors. The SPDIF in- and output are laid out onboard, but there is no bracket to lead them outside of the case.
Although Gigabyte GA-K8VT800 is a typical budget solution, the company decided to refrain from saving on trifles and enclosed a special USB bracket with two ports for the case rear panel. Four other USB ports are located on the board back panel and four more are implemented as onboard connectors, which makes a total of eight USB 2.0 ports. Note also that Gigabyte didn’t follow the latest trend regarding the implementation of only one COM port. There are two COM connectors at the mainboard back panel.