Some things just won't die.

Discuss the core components that make up the heart and soul of any good computer.

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Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:17 am

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Source: Anandtech

It's concentrated fail. VIA chips powering every feature of the board, each slowly sucking your soul dry like a tiny Shang Tsung.

All that's missing is some cheap Chinese caps and I could imagine it's 2001 again and we're all languishing under bulging caps, a half ass PCI implemention, and crackling audio.

Those PCIe 1x slots always remind me of AMR/CNR. :P
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:38 am

Oh, c'mon... VIA wasn't that bad when they got their act together. Some of the VIA-based Socket A and Socket 754/939 boards were decent. But then they kinda lost it and started to suck again around the time SATA2 and PCIe became mainstream... oh well. :roll:

From what I've read their CPUs are actually pretty good these days given the market niche they're aimed at (they are designed to compete with Atom).
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:01 am

I've always found the Nano line to be pretty neat. I find it interesting that in this world of tablets and netbooks that the design wins keep landing on Arm, Atom, and in some cases Tegra. I don't keep up with that niche of the market well enough to speculate why the Nano gets left out.

My post had a bit of exaggerated humor in it, but really as a chipset company they've always just been... meh. They weren't the best solution at the time, they just happened to be the only solution.

Intel backing their horse and no viable SDRAM/DDR chipsets were available. Meanwhile AMD was still not grasping the fact they needed their own chipset to succeed, that they couldn't bet their fortunes upon some other company delivering the core logic needed. That strange situation allowed VIA to thrive within a market otherwise starved of chipset manufacturers. We endured them because we had no choice and maybe some of us even have some fond memories, but to say we got a quality product would be an overstatement.

It's especially telling that once NVIDIA, ATI, AMD, and Intel (and even arguably SiS for a short time) got into the fray that VIA simply faded away with designs that arrived late and offered little advantage. It wasn't just enthusiast that dropped the company, even the OEMs were moving on to better and greener pastures. Maybe their quality gets unfairly wrapped up into the Chinese capacitors disaster that spawned around their reign, perhaps they do get judged by the lack of quality that was available in their chipsets over the years, perhas it was purely because their engineering team was no longer able to produce the necessary designs in a timely fashion. Regardless they've faded into obscurity.

When it comes to chipsets, good riddance I say.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:28 am

Like JBI said, their socket A chipsets (before the nForce2) weren't so bad. I think it was the KT266? My first socket A board was VIA based. Then I was lured by the 400Mhz FSB and dual channel memory of the nForce 2 Asus A8N7X-E Deluxe!
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:32 am

Their KT133 chipset for Socket-A was a byword for crap, though.

I had an Apollo Pro 133A chipset Socket-370 'board years ago, made by Tyan. That thing was a tank.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:19 pm

On the other hand, their 694D chipset, which brought dual-proc SMP to the masses in the Pentium III days was genius. I still have one running in my garage as a backup server. It's gotta be at least ten years old.

Yeah they were rather uneven in the quality of their products, but they had some bright spots.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:48 pm

DancinJack wrote:I think it was the KT266? My first socket A board was VIA based. Then I was lured by the 400Mhz FSB and dual channel memory of the nForce 2 Asus A8N7X-E Deluxe!

Yeah you're thinking of the KT266A and the KT333. Asus made some nice boards based off those chipsets and they had better performance than the nForce1... I still have a KT266A board running as a backup web browsing machine. It even has a SB Live card in it and never had any issues running that either(!)
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:02 pm

I'll throw another cookie into the KT266A cage.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:10 pm

I'd note my experience with them was with the KX133 (hundreds of them actually), KT133/A, Apollo Pro, and MVP3.

After that I couldn't be bothered to try them again. Those were all 686A and B era chipsets. The KX133 had a critical design flaw that prevented the stable use of slot A thunderbirds. The 686A/B PCI issues extended further than just sound cards, hence the famouse PCI Latency Patch. The USB controller in that southbridge was also super picky, probably tied to the same PCI woes.

If it got better after that, I don't know. I know the 8233 made some changes and that the 8235 specifically focused on some PCI fixes. I had already hit the do not want stage. I took the slower nForce1 (which had it's own interesting flaw) and never looked back after nForce2. I made the leap to a Dothan platform after my nForce2/Barton died in a fire.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:10 pm

MSI-branded KT400A and a XP2800 Barton here. Runs fine on the occasions I boot it up.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:11 pm

Captain Ned wrote:MSI-branded KT400A and a XP2800 Barton here. Runs fine on the occasions I boot it up.
Yeah, my old Win XP box was a 2.17Ghz Barton ("3000+") running on a VIA KT600 board. It still runs fine, after however many years. Only real issue with it was that I could never get it to be stable with all 3 DIMM slots filled, so it was stuck at 2GB. VIA had some bad chipsets, but they had some good ones as well (the motherboard I had before that was I think a KT400 but it fell victim to the bad caps issue, which of course had nothing to do with VIA but probably didn't help their reputation in that era)
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:40 pm

My father's PC still features an EPoX EP-8KRAI Pro with the Via KT880 chipset at it's heart. It's been remarkably reliable.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:04 am

Ryu Connor wrote:I've always found the Nano line to be pretty neat. I find it interesting that in this world of tablets and netbooks that the design wins keep landing on Arm, Atom, and in some cases Tegra. I don't keep up with that niche of the market well enough to speculate why the Nano gets left out.
I think the answer is quite obvious, especially on the power consumption page of that review. Granted a dual core Nano and the dual core Atom are not really meant for tablets and netbooks, assuming the power numbers do scale I think we can see a pecking order:

DC Nano > i3 > DC Atom >> Tegra > ARM

I don't think we need further clarification of why the design wins fall the way they did.

I for one am a bit sad that they did not do much with their Envy acquisition to give Creative some real competition. My current Asus P7P55D-E does have VIA audio and FireWire controllers.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:18 am

I for one am a bit sad that they did not do much with their Envy acquisition to give Creative some real competition.


That was the hotness option for a while IIRC. Curious what happened there.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:03 am

Ryu Connor wrote:
I for one am a bit sad that they did not do much with their Envy acquisition to give Creative some real competition.

That was the hotness option for a while IIRC. Curious what happened there.

VIA marginalized them, just like they've seemingly managed to do with all the other technologies they've acquired over the years. I don't think VIA had any clue regarding how to market a high-end audio codec.

Their less-than-stellar reputation may have also limited the appeal, even though it wasn't originally a VIA design.

M-Audio still makes Envy24-based cards FWIW...
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:24 pm

bthylafh wrote:Their KT133 chipset for Socket-A was a byword for crap, though.


Yea and don't I know it, that chipset coupled with my Creative SoundBlaster Live Value card gave me endless trouble. Snap crackle pop :x

The rule of thumb was to wait for revision A of their current chipsets, when VIA finally got things right. The problem was this cycle was repeated for just about every chipset that came out of VIA.

As for their CPU's, I initially had high hopes for the Nano but the damn things never really materialised in the market. Now I just have a bad taste in my mouth when I think of VIA.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:57 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:My father's PC still features an EPoX EP-8KRAI Pro with the Via KT880 chipset at it's heart. It's been remarkably reliable.



My main machine is an ASRock board (4CoreDual-VSTA) running the PT880. So stable I find it hard to believe it is from Via.

This board is a frankenstein though - a socket 775 board with AGP, PCIE, DDR, DDR2, SATA, and IDE support. I bought it as a transition board and haven't transitioned away from it yet.


As for the past, I had a KT133A, and a KT266A. My KT133A had serious PCI issues, and bad caps, and kept running (with the bad caps!) until I got bored with it.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:19 pm

Well not all VIA stuff is total crap, a lot of their early stuff was a lot better then they are now. They have pretty much dropped off the map since the early A64 days when they just couldn't come up with a chipset and pretty much gave up the market. I have a lot of old vintage VIA stuff that still works well socket 7, Slot 1, and socket 370...but the tail end of K7 days they pretty much were not able to keep up and that was pretty much the end of their chipset business...NV pretty much buried them with their Nforce chipset, and then NV pretty much let that go down the tubes.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:38 pm

Starfalcon wrote:I have a lot of old vintage VIA stuff that still works well socket 7, Slot 1, and socket 370...

Yeah, the original justbrewit.net server was a K6-3+ on an old FIC VIA-based Super 7 board! Like many boards of that era, it fell victim to the capacitor plague. It is still sitting in my crawlspace, waiting for me to find the time to recap it... I'd still like to resurrect it at some point. It was rock-solid stable until the failing capacitors took it out.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:08 am

You know you can use a Pentium !!! with Vista/7 don't you? That's right, with a VIA chipset, because Intel limited all theirs to 512MB of RAM. I've got a VIA 694T with 1.5GB of SDRAM and a Tualatin 1.4 S (512KB L2) and it does OK.

Got a K8T800 754 mobo (EPoX) that runs Vista OK with an Athlon 3400+. It works better than the DFI nForce3 250Gb with an NVIDIA chipset, because NVIDIA can't or won't release Vista drivers, so it hangs after going to sleep.

VIA might not have won the benchmarks, which is how others forged ahead, but their designs seem to be remarkably balanced and well thought out, unlike some...
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:35 pm

I agree, VIA was a complete POS (and I don't mean Point of Sale). But the sad thing is that it was actually quite good compared to ALi Aladdin chipsets.

God, those were really AWFUL !
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:05 pm

Nothing could be as bad as whatever dross PC Chips use[sd] in their motherboards.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:26 am

Gotta love PC Chips

http://www.redhill.net.au/b/b-bad.html
http://www.redhill.net.au/b/b-97.html#vxpro

Funnily enough, I've got a PC Chips M810 LMRH which pairs Socket A with SDRAM that still runs. Probably some sort of record longevity
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:07 am

filamento wrote:I agree, VIA was a complete POS (and I don't mean Point of Sale). But the sad thing is that it was actually quite good compared to ALi Aladdin chipsets.

God, those were really AWFUL !

Y'know, one of the best motherboards I ever owned was my old Micronics C200 Socket 7 board, which was ALi-based. Stability and reliability were both top-notch. I don't own that system any more, but according to Starfalcon (it is part of his collection of obsolete PCs now) it still works.
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Re: Some things just won't die.

Postposted on Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:48 am

I remember the Ali based Gigabyte GA-5AX with a certain amount of fondness too. That was a good board.
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