iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






VIA KT333 Based Mainboards Roundup

August 16, 2002

Recently we tested a second lot of the VIA KT333 based boards. Today we are going to close the subject with 5 more boards thanks to the combination of the KT333 north bridge and VT8235 south bridge. Besides, as many our readers are interested mostly in speed we will add the fastest models from the two earlier parts. It will let us find out the fastest VIA based mainboard for the Socket 462 (see the review of the chipset). 

Test conditions

Testbed:  Software: 
  • Windows 2000 Professional SP2 
  • DirectX 8.1 
  • VIA 4-in-1 4.38 
  • NVIDIA Detonator 28.32 (VSync=Off) 
  • VirtualDub 1.4.9 + DivX codec 5.0 Pro 
  • WinAce 2.11 
  • BAPCo & MadOnion SYSmark 2002 Internet Content Creation 
  • BAPCo & MadOnion SYSmark 2002 Office Productivity 
  • MadOnion 3DMark 2001 SE 
  • idSoftware Quake III Arena v1.30 
  • Gray Matter Studios & Nerve Software Return To Castle Wolfenstein v1.1 
  • DroneZmarK 
Here is a comparison table of the boards examined today:

Board Chaintech 7VJL FIC AN17 Jetway V333DA Shuttle AK35GT2R Soyo KT333 Dragon Ultra Platinum Edition
Links Chaintech 7VJL FIC AN17 Jetway V333DA Shuttle AK35GT2R Soyo KT333 Dragon Ultra Platinum Edition
Chipset VIA KT333 (KT333 + VT8235) VIA KT333 (KT333 + VT8233A)
Processor support Socket 462 (Socket A), AMD Duron, AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon XP
Memory slots 3 DDR 3 DDR 3 DDR 4 DDR 3 DDR
Expansion slots AGP/ 6 PCI AGP/ 5 PCI/ AMR AGP/ 5 PCI/ CNR AGP/ 6 PCI AGP Pro/ 5 PCI
I/O ports 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2
USB 2 USB 2.0 + 2 connectors for 2 USB 2.0 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 2 USB 1.1 + 1 connector for 2 USB 1.1 + 2 connectors for 2 USB 2.0
Integrated IDE controller ATA133
External IDE controller - Promise PDC20265R - HighPoint HPT372 HighPoint HPT372
Sound PCI Audio, C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch-LX AC'97 codec, Avance Logic ALC201A AC'97 codec, Avance Logic ALC201A PCI Audio, C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch PCI Audio, C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch-MX
Integrated network controller 10BaseT/ 100BaseTX - - - Realtek RTL8100B
I/O controller ITE IT8705F Winbond W83627HF-AW Winbond W83697HF Winbond W83697HF ITE IT8705F
BIOS 2Mbit Phoenix AwardBIOS v6.00PG 2Mbit Phoenix AwardBIOS v6.00PG 2Mbit Award Modular BIOS v6.00PG 2Mbit Phoenix AwardBIOS v6.00PG 2Mbit Phoenix AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Form-factor, dimensions ATX, 30.5x23 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm ATX, 30.5x21 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm ATX, 30.5x24.5 cm


Test results

The MPEG4 didn't reveal the difference between the new boards, the leader of the second part Abit KX7-333R thrives here as well - it outscores its closest competitors by 4%, and losers by 6%. 

The WinAce archiving gives close scores making the difference a bit clearer. The speed of the Abit KX7-333R is higher by 9% as compared with the outsiders FIC and Soyo. However, in the WinAce the Gigabyte comes very close to the leader - it lags behind only by 2%, and the Chaintech and Shuttle are also just a couple of percents behind the second position. Well, the last winners - Abit and Gigabyte turn out to be the most efficient boards here as they exchange data with the memory most intensively. 

In the SYSmark 2002 the memory throughput is not the most vital factor in the test. Here we have new leaders - Chaintech and Shuttle (their results are almost identical in all tests). The Gigabyte is 2% behind, and the Abit doesn't shine in the business tests - you might see it in the last tests (probably because of the worst organization of the hard disc access). The outsiders do not change: FIC and Soyo. 

In the 3DMark working in high resolutions the difference between the participants is almost unnoticeable - those who work better with the memory have better scores, the Gigabyte is ahead this time. The layout of the new-comers remains the same. 

The victory of the Chaintech tangles the situation, especially considering quite low results of the Abit. The different between the fastest and slowest boards is less than 5%. 


Well, it's quite complicated to single out a leader. Different groups of the tests reveal different winners; still, giving credit to the Abit KX7-333R for the best scores in the memory-intensive tests and and to the Chaintech 7VJL and Shuttle AK35GT2R for their stably high marks, I should admit that the Gigabyte 7VRXP is the most efficient model. It's interesting that it was the first model on this chipset that arrived in our lab. 

Do remember that the difference of a couple of percents should be a determining factor when choosing a board. First of all, turn your attention to the table with brief characteristics of the board. Having chosen the most interesting and suitable for your tasks models go to their description, and then, taking into account accessories, functions and speed you should account for the price. 

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com)
Sergei Pikalov (peek@ixbt.com)

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