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Tyan's Trinity KT400 motherboard

A Tyan that overclocks. Seriously.
— 12:00 AM on February 26, 2003

Manufacturer Tyan
Model Trinity KT400
Price (street) US$121
Availability Now

TYAN WAS ONCE known primarily by server admins and power users who lusted after Tyan's line of stable, SCSI-packed server and workstation motherboards, but much has changed since those days. The SCSI-rich server and workstation boards are still there, but Tyan has added a couple of new products to the family that are more appropriate for enthusiasts and *gasp* even overclockers. The first of these new products was the Tachyon G9700 Pro graphics card, which we looked at in our Radeon 9700 Pro comparison in December.

Featuring a bright blue PCB and an exotic GPU cooling system, the Tachyon G9700 Pro was a radical departure for Tyan, especially since the card had incredible overclocking potential. It looks like Tyan was just getting started. They have more coming on the graphics front, and Tyan has also busted out the Trinity KT400, a motherboard loaded with Serial ATA support, overclocking potential, and more memory tweaking options than you can shake a stick at.

Even a really big stick.

Does the Trinity KT400 have what it takes to satisfy an enthusiast's motherboard needs? Is Tyan really serious about overclocking, or are those front-side bus options in there just for show? Read on to find out.

The specs
Before diving into the details, let's take a quick look at the Trinity KT400's spec sheet.

CPU support Socket A-based Athlon XP and Duron processors
Form factor ATX
Chipset VIA KT400
North bridge VIA VT8377
South bridge VIA VT8235
Interconnect V-Link (533MB/s)
PCI slots 6 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots 1, 4X/8X AGP (1.5V only)
AMR/CNR slots none
Memory 3 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 3GB of DDR333/266/200 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/133
Serial ATA 2 channels Serial ATA via Silicon Image 3112 SATA controller
RAID 2 channels ATA/133 RAID 0, 1, 0+1 via HighPoint 372 controller
Legacy ports 1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports
USB 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via PCI expansion header
Firewire None
Audio 6-channel audio via VT8235 and Realtek ALC650 codec
analog front, rear and center channel outputs
mic and line input ports shared with rear and center channel output ports
Video none
Ethernet VIA VT6103 10/100 Ethernet via VT8235 south bridge
BIOS Award
Bus speeds 100-200MHz in 1MHz increments
Bus dividers 1/3-1/5 adjusted automatically according to front-side bus speed
Voltages CPU: 1.85-2.2V in 0.025V increments and Default - 0.1V to Default + 0.175V
DRAM: Default + 0.025-0.175V in 0.025V increments
Monitoring Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

The Trinity KT400 is, well, loaded. That's not exactly what many of us would expect from Tyan. Only a lack of Firewire support keeps the board from having a full house of integrated peripherals. 6-channel audio, Ethernet, IDE RAID, and Serial ATA are all there. Integrated peripherals aren't exactly new to motherboards, but Tyan's offerings have traditionally been far sparser than the Trinity KT400. Let's take a closer look at the board to see how well Tyan juggles all these integrated peripherals.