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VIA K8T890 - PCI Express Reaches AMD

Subject: Chipsets
Manufacturer: VIA
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K8T890 Technology (cont'd)


Here is a summary of the upcoming 8251 south bridge and its features.  The new SATA controller from VIA will support command queuing, a feature that only Intel is touting on its ICH6-R south bridge at the moment that has positive performance on storage devices that support it. 



This slide is discussing the benefit to having PCIe lanes on both the north and south bridge as opposed to a single chipset solution.  By supporting PCIe in the south bridge, it offers more connections for devices that don't require a lot of bandwidth while still providing the north bridge lanes for high speed devices to utilize. 



The results VIA gets from their north and south bridge combination is a total of 22 lanes of PCIe for 5.5 GB/s of bandwidth and up to 7 total devies.  The note that the K8T890 chipset is compatible with all existing and upcoming VIA south bridges is important when you learn that the 8251 south bridge won't be ready immediately and the first K8T890 boards will be shipping with the 8237 south bridge currently in use on the K8T800 and K8T800 Pro motherboards.



One of VIA's claims is that by allowing motherboard manufacturers to implement 3rd party PCIe Gigabit Ethernet solutions we will see that they are faster than NVIDIA's own on-board GigE solution.  While we should take these numbers with a grain of salt based on their source, we should also mention that the upcoming NVIDIA chipset will have an improved GigE network solution. 


One of the biggest noise makers as far as support for PCI Express graphics has been the announcement of the NVIDIA SLI technology and its support for two PCIe cards working together.  VIA doesn't specifically mention NVIDIA or SLI in its presentation, only that the K8T890 "stands ready to support all industry dual graphics card standards."  We can only assume that VIA and NVIDIA are in a bit of a tiff over SLI support as NVIDIA would just love to have the only chipset to support it, but on the other hand NVIDIA would like SLI to cater to as large an audience as possible.  I think we'll see SLI on VIA boards very soon though.



From this image, VIA isn't telling us how their dual PCIe graphics implementation is layed out: is it a single x16 slot and a single x4 slot?  Or maybe a x12 slot and an x8?  We really don't know yet, but I think it will come down to the motherboard vendors implementation of the 20 lanes provided by the K8T890 chipset.


What VIA is touting with their DualGFX Express technology is multitasking for power users.  The ability to run two 3D applications on seperate monitors simultaneously, with much improved performance over two monitors on a single card is enticing.  Not to mention the ease that utilizing quad-monitors would come to.



Here we see that the DualGFX technology will be introduced on the K8T890 Pro chipset, not on the current K8T890 one we tested today.  Notice also the vague comments made on the DualGFX side of things, "delivers exceptional single application performance."  There is no mention if this refers to SLI technology from NVIDIA or not as of yet.  We'll touch more on that issue in the conclusion to our preview.

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It supports 4 SATA and 4 PATA drives with RAID support on the SATA side. It also includes the new VIA 7.1 channel Vinyl Audio support for motherboard manufacturers to implement
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