Who's the fastest?
Back in February, we took a look at the performance of the various chipsets from Intel, VIA, and AMD in games and synthetic benchmarks. While the scores remained close, the Intel BX and AMD 750 chipset were arguably the top two performers overall.
Since then, a lot has changed. For the slot one platform VIA has released newer 4-in-1 drivers which improve the performance of the Apollo Pro133A chipset and, after some delays, the long awaited KX133 chipset is here.
Designed as the successor to AMD's 750 chipset, VIA's KX133 chipset offers a 133MHz memory bus, (the front side bus still operates at 100MHz with an effective clock rate of 200MHz) full AGP 4X support, and also supports NEC's virtual-channel memory. (VCM) We'll talk about KX133 in a bit more depth later in this article.
A quick overview of the components: Intel platform
For the Intel P6 platform, we have the old mainstay BX chipset represented by the Abit BE6-II motherboard
. The BE6-II is the flagship of Abit's fleet of motherboards based on the BX chipset.
Representing Intel's 820 chipset is the Aopen AX6C motherboard. The AX6C is an extremely reliable, stable motherboard, and it has been a delight to test with. The AX6C is also a solid performer.
The final P6 chipset represented here is VIA's Apollo Pro133A with the motherboard representative coming from MSI and their MS-6309. The 6309 is an impressive performer, and better yet, it can be found online for less than the previous 820 and BX motherboards we've mentioned. (Sarju managed to find one for just under $70!) Our review unit we received back in January varies a little from the 6309's currently available in the retail market, but the performance is the same.
When discussing high performance CPU's, AMD's Athlon can't be forgotten. Available in clock speeds of up to 1GHz, the Athlon has recently taken AMD above $1 billion in sales - an all-time high for the company. The Athlon has been embraced by end-users and OEM's for its combination of price, performance, and availability.
While Intel has had supply problems for its higher end Pentium III processors, AMD hasn't faced any problems supplying demand for their Athlon CPU. This is a remarkable turnaround for a company that has been plagued with supply problems in the past.
We paired our Athlon CPU with the MSI K7 Pro motherboard. Based on the AMD 750 chipset, the K7 Pro offers good performance and stability. But what about our KX133 setup?