VIA K8T900 AMD Chipset Preview
The Reference Board
Reference board designs are not usually the most exciting thing we come across at PC Perspective. They are made to showcase the features of the chipset and aren't made to appeal to the end user directly. Because of that, overclocking wasn't tested on the board and neither were some other enthusiast-level settings.
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The board itself looks very much like other AMD-platform motherboards we have seen over the past six months. There are two graphics cards slots, some legacy PCI slots, four memory DIMMs and SATA ports just like anything else. Let's dive a little bit deeper into the hardware we see above.
First up we see the expansion slots available on the reference board include two x1 PCIe slots, two x16 PCIe slots and two legacy PCI slots. The two x16 slots run in either a x16-x4 configuration or a x8-x8 configuration depending on the setting of the paddle board between them. In much the same way we saw NVIDIA's SLI chipsets first hit the market, the paddle board physically redirects the PCIe electrical lanes to prepare the board for dual-GPU configurations.
One side of the switch card shows support for the x8-x8 mode and the other for x16 mode.
Installation is just as simple and straight forward as it was on the SLI chipsets and is very similar to the installation of notebook SODIMM memory modules.
The south bridge of the chipset is not covered by any heatsink and was still able to remain quite cool during testing. Here you can see the four SATA-II connections that the VT8251 south bridge provides as well as the VT6307 Firewire chip on the left side.
The reference board came loaded with VIA chips including these; the VT1211 chip for hardware monitoring support and legacy I/O support and the VT6656 an 802.11g wireless networking connection (and the gold antennea connector as well). For audio it sports the ALC880 codec chip and for networking a Marvell 8053 Gigabit PCI Express connection.
Finally, here are the basic external connections on the board -- again, nothing too fancy here.