Darth VIA unmasked!

COMPUTEX — A little birdie told me about some very interesting events that took place here around or about Computex yesterday. Apparently, a VIA engineer was speaking directly to members of the press about the VIA PCI bus problem that has caused performance and compatibility troubles for some users, and he let slip the precise nature of the problem. It seems VIA's south bridge chips didn't include a PCI extension called bus parking that Intel implemented in its post-BX series of chipsets. Many PCI card makers simply assumed bus parking would be available to them, and when it wasn't, all heck broke loose—snap, crackle, pop on your SoundBlaster.

That's what I hear, anyway.

Driver patches seem to have resolved the worst of the problems for most folks, but PCI card makers have to play along in order to resolve such issues.

VIA claims its newer south bridge chips, especially the 8235 chip showing up in P4X333 and KT400 prototype boards, do not suffer from this problem. The new PCI bus, they claim, performs like a champ. We'll test that theory ourselves soon.

Remember, though—always two there are: a master and an apprentice.

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