VIA's K8T900 chipset

VIA and S3 build their own multi-graphics platform

WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF the nForce4 chipset, NVIDIA threw a mighty big elbow into the guts of its would-be competitors in the Athlon 64 chipset market. By limiting support for its SLI multi-GPU technology to its own core-logic chipsets, NVIDIA hogged the spotlight for high-end enthusiast motherboards and carved out a sizable chunk of the market for the nForce4. ATI recently followed suit with its Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire Edition chipset, aiming to leverage its own graphics prowess into chipset profits.

At long last, VIA says it's ready to fight back in earnest, and the chipset maker has enlisted the help of its sister company, S3 graphics, in making its push. The new K8T900 north bridge features a more robust PCI Express implementation that can divvy up its PCI Express lanes into two set of eight for better multi-GPU support, and it's paired up with the long-awaited VT8251 south bridge, sporting a full slate of next-gen I/O capabilities. Alongside this new chipset comes a new GPU family, the Chrome S20 series, ready to fire in a double-barreled GPU configuration known as MultiChrome.

But can the K8T900 really match up to the nForce4 SLI? Will S3's MultiChrome offer compelling performance on the K8T900 chipset? And what would happen if you could run a pair of high-end GeForce cards in SLI on this new VIA chipset? Read on for the answers.

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