VIA Apollo KT266A Chipset Review
The Reference Board and Test Setup
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.Here you will find some images of the reference board we were provided with to review and test the new KT266A chipset. The board is definetely not meant for a retail or even OEM market, and has some features that you probably will not see on KT266A motherboards when they arrive.
First, the board is micro-ATX model which is all that is really necessary since these boards are used only for media/OEM testing and internal compatibility. There is a single AGP port, two PCI ports and one odd looking ACR port. The ACR is a kind of AMR/CNR port that allows for very low cost component add ons. The OEM would have been very interested in this feature. Many people, including myself, first identify this as just another PCI slot since they look so similar. In fact it is offset differently from the side of the board and is turned around 180 degrees.
Interestingly, the KT266A reference board I got did not have a heatsink or heatsink/fan combination on the north bridge. Even more interesting is the fact that the motherboard ran flawlessly the entire time. I am not sure if the changes VIA made to the chipset have lowered the power usage or voltage, and I have not even tested a standard KT266 chipset without some kind of cooling on it, but this kind of stability without a heatsink boades well for potential overclocking.
The test setup was very similar to the past reviews we have done on Amdmb.com. I used 256 MB of Corsair XMS2400 memory and the Visiontek GeForce 3 video card. For comparison benchmarks, I chose to pit the KT266A reference board against the ECS K7S5A based on the SiS 735 chipset and the Epox 8K7A board based on the AMD 760 chipset. They are the two top performing single processor boards that are out right now, so I wanted to see if the KT266A could stand up against them.
Here is the test setup for the reference board again (note the other boards had the exact same setups, as well):
Test System Setup
1 x 1.4 GHz AMD Athlon Thunderbird Processor
1 x 256MB Corsair XMS2400 DDR DRAM
20.5GB 7200 RPM Western Digital EIDE
Visiontek GeForce 3
Windows 98 SE
Quake III: Arena
SiSoft Sandra Memory Bench
SiSoft Sandra CPU Bench
Content Creation Winstone 2001
Business Winstone 2001
4 different SPEC view perf tests