Yet Another Chipset from VIA
In anticipation of AMD's recent launch of the FSB333 Athlon XP processor, VIA came out with an upgraded version of their popular Apollo series of DDR chipsets for the Socket-A platform. Known as KT400, this new chipset promises better performance and superior specifications as compared to its older siblings like the KT266A and KT333.
The new VIA Apollo KT400 is officially the only chipset from VIA that will support the new batch of Athlon XP processors running at 333MHz Front Side Bus (FSB). Although the previous KT333 chipset had minor successes in running FSB333 CPUs, it was not really designed to operate at that frequency. In fact, in all of our tests, only the MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU, MSI KT3 Ultra2-BR, ABIT KX7-333 and EPoX 8K3A+ could hit 333MHz FSB reliably.
Besides being the only VIA chipset to support 333MHz FSB, the KT400 is also equipped with an AGP 8X compliant interface that will support the latest AGP 8X range of graphics cards. Currently, only ATI's RADEON 9700 Pro, SiS Xabre 400, NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti4200-8X and NVIDIA's GeForce4 MX440-8X are AGP 8X compliant. There should be more graphics core appearing in the near future that would take full advantage of this new interface for even faster graphics and performance.
The VIA KT400 chipset.
As the numbering of the chipset implies, the KT400 is also capable of using DDR400 memory modules. Although VIA did not specify its support for DDR400, the KT400 has the ability to clock the memory at this speed. Since DDR400 is not approved by JEDEC, DDR400 memory support was not officially stated in the chipsets specification.
Today, things have gotten a little more complicated than usual. As VIA is struggling with their production capacity and plans, the KT400 will be shortlived as VIA plans to remark this chipset as a KT333 so that VIA can make room for an upgraded version of the KT400. Now, that may sound to be a good thing, but it's not. As VIA intends to keep the specifications similar to KT333, the AGP 8X interface will be crippled to run at only AGP 4X. In addition, the north bridge is also not pin compatible with the KT333, thus, manufacturers have to redesign the entire board for this. Indeed a very ridiculous way to market their chipsets, VIA is adding salt to a very sore wound with these changes since they might be losing customers due to this. So, what will they do with this void? According to sources, VIA has plans to roll out another chipset similar to this one before the end of this year. The new improved design will be known as KT400A and it will replace the current KT400.