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AMD’s 64-bit chips are available now for high-end and mainstream systems, but the Socket A platform for Advanced Micro Devices’ 32-bit chips is still alive and kicking. Microstar International has proved this fact by adding MSI KT880 Delta – a yet another mainboard for AMD Athlon XP chips – into the lineup, now powered by VIA KT880 core-logic.

Recently released by VIA Technologies, the VIA KT880 chipset is the company’s last and final core-logic for AMD Athlon XP chips, it seems. The product features dual-channel memory controller, something VIA’s chipsets lacked throughout history losing the performance crown to nForce-series chipsets from NVIDIA Corp..

VIA’s KT880 North Bridge is able to work with various Socket A AMD Athlon XP processors with 200MHz, 266MHz, 333MHz and 400MHz FSB. The chip packs dual-channel PC2100, PC2700 and PC3200 DDR SDRAM memory controller that actually supports more memory than AMD’s seventh generation processors can address – up to 8GB. According to the company’s spokesperson, VIA is not going to develop chipsets for AMD Athlon XP processors with PCI Express x16 lane for graphics.

VIA KT880 is to be paired with VIA VT8237 I/O controller supporting up to 6 PCI slots, 8 USB 2.0 ports, integrates 2-channel ATA-33/66/100/133 controller, features 2 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID support, 6-channel audio-solution, MC97 Modem and other important input/output means. Later during the year KT880 will also be able to work with VIA’s VT8251 South Bridge and acquire 4 Serial ATA-150 ports along with PCI Express x1 lane and Gigabit Ethernet controller.

Precise specifications of MSI’s KT880 Delta are as follows:

  • Supports Socket A AMD Athlon XP processors with 200/266/333/400MHz FSB;
  • VIA KT880 chipset, including VT8237 I/O controller;
  • 3 DIMM slots for up to 3GB of PC2100, PC2700 or up to 2GB of PC3200 memory; Note that for dual-channel configurations you have to install a pair of identical memory modules;
  • 5 PCI slots and 1 AGP 8x slot;
  • 2-channel ATA-33/66/100/133 integrated controller;
  • 2 Serial ATA-150 ports;
  • 10/100/1000Mb/s Ethernet controller from VIA Technologies;
  • 8 USB 2.0 ports;
  • 6-channel AC’97 audio solution;
  • Overclocking, tuning and other MSI’s functions;
  • ATX Form Factor.

VIA’s KT880 chipset did not demonstrate astonishing performance results, according to X-bit labs investigation conducted recently. The chipset is behind the competing NVIDIA nForce2 solutions in terms of performance, but has an advantage in terms of native support for Serial ATA-150. Mainboard makers usually come up an additional Serial ATA-150 controller on the nForce2-based Socket A solutions to support the latest interconnection standard and do not demonstrate a lot of enthusiasts about the KT880. So far only ASUS, MSI, Soltek and EPoX have talked about VIA’s latest Socket A product. VIA claims that ABIT, Acorp, ASRock, ASUS, Chaintech, DFI, EPoX, Gigabyte, Jetway, MSI, Soltek, and SOYO, are clearly demonstrating the strong industry support for the platform

Pricing and availability information about MSI’s KT880 Delta was not touched upon.


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