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Performance

 

Soltek SL-KT880E-RL
(VIA KT880)

ASUS A7V880
(VIA KT880)

ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe
(NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400)

Business Winstone 2004

20.1

20.2

20.9

Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004

24.8

24.9

24.8

3DMark03, Default

6321

6327

6310

3DMark03, Default, CPU score

599

603

615

3DMark2001 SE, Default

17735

17962

18251

Aquamark3, fps

43.62

43.79

43.69

Aquamark3, CPU

8097

8266

8192

Quake3 (four), 1024x768

316.2

321.4

330.6

X2 - The Threat, 1024x768

106.95

106.66

107.86

Unreal Tournament 2004 (dm-rankin), 1024x768

84.67

85.56

86.61

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (paris3), 640x480

139.22

140.82

144.07

Far Cry, 1024x768

57.85

58.61

59.88

Halo, 1024x768

50.94

50.96

51.74

Data Compression, WinRAR 3.3, Best, KB/sec

364

369

392

MPEG-2 Encoding, Mainconcept MPEG Encoder, sec

218.05

218.16

218.31

MPEG-4 Encoding, Xmpeg 5.0/DiVX 5.11, fps

27.67

27.8

27.86

Windows Media Encoder 9, MPEG2 to WME, sec

781

784

778

CINEMA 4D, CINEBENCH 2003, Raytracing, CB

282

281

282

CINEMA 4D, CINEBENCH 2003, Shading, CB

319

319

323

CINEMA 4D, CINEBENCH 2003, Lighting SW, CB

1398

1400

1407

CINEMA 4D, CINEBENCH 2003, Lighting HW, CB

2947

2949

2945

PCMark04

4039

4058

4109

PCMark04, CPU

3835

3840

3859

PCMark04, Memory

2767

2775

2845

The outcome of our tests is predictable. Soltek couldn’t make a faster KT880-based mainboard than ASUS. That’s why the ASUS A7V880 is nearly everywhere a little faster than the new board from Soltek. Of course, the Soltek SL-KT880E-RL is also slower than the nForce2-based product and our words about the nForce2 Ultra 400 being the fastest dual-channel chipset for the Socket A platform are still true. The intelligent DASP preprocessor employed by NVIDIA in the nForce2 family chipsets is a highly efficient thing – you can’t beat that.

Conclusion

We have met another mainboard on the VIA KT880 and can now talk with more knowledge about the consumer qualities of this chipset. We are now perfectly sure that the KT880 is not faster than Socket A chipsets from NVIDIA. Moreover, now that we’re looking forward to mainboards on the nForce2 with new enhanced-functionality and cheaper South Bridges, the problem of the best chipset for the Socket A platform remains urgent. Of course, the KT880 has certain advantages, among which its high stability at overclocking is important, but so far, there are no real overclocker models of KT880-based mainboards in the market. For example, the Soltek SL-KT880E-RL we have reviewed today cannot clock the AGP and PCI busses asynchronously and this becomes a serious obstacle to speeding the system up.

On the other hand, the Soltek SL-KT880E-RL will suit well as an inexpensive Socket A platform for a mainstream computer system. As far as we know, this mainboard is going to sell for about $70 and this price will make it a good buy for economical users as it has every necessary function a modern PC must have. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this product to overclockers and experimenters.

Highs:

  • Low price for a mainboard with a dual-channel memory subsystem;
  • Up-to-date capabilities (10/100Mb network, six-channel audio, SATA RAID, eight USB ports);
  • Support of the CPU-integrated thermal diode.

Lows:

  • Low performance;
  • Instability in the single-channel mode;
  • Cannot lock the AGP/PCI frequencies at their defaults;
  • Only two DDR DIMM slots;
  • Issues with the PCB design.
 
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