Preview: VIA's K8T890 chipset

PCI Express meets the Athlon 64
— 5:00 AM on September 24, 2004

WITH A PARSIMONIOUS 133 megabytes per second of shared bandwidth, PCI has definitely become the short bus of PC expansion standards. Nearly every other port, slot, and link inside a modern computer is faster than the bus shared by a collection of 32-bit, 33MHz PCI expansion slots and a couple of onboard devices on the typical PC motherboard. A single Serial ATA connection can burst up to 150MB/s, saturating an otherwise-empty PCI bus. Fortunately, help arrived recently for Pentium 4 motherboards with the introduction of Intel's 915 and 925X chipsets. These chipsets replace the tired PCI bus with the much faster, more modern PCI Express standard.

All of this is well and good, but there's been a catch. Right now, anyone buying a new system would have to choose between an Athlon 64 with AGP/PCI slots and a Pentium 4 system with PCI Express. That situation is about to be corrected, because chipset manufacturers are prepping core logic chipsets for the Athlon 64 with support for PCI Express. The first of those chipsets that has made its way into Damage Labs is VIA's K8T890. Read on to see our hands-on report.

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