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Review: ABIT KV8-MAX3 S754

by Tarinder Sandhu on 4 December 2003, 00:00

Tags: abit, AMD (NYSE:AMD), VIA Technologies (TPE:2388)

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ABIT KV8-MAX3 (VIA K8T800) Review

The ultimate S754 motherboard ?

At the risk of sounding redundant, AMD's Clawhammer CPU, of which the Athlon 64 3200+ is the sole standard-bearer, is an altogether impressive CPU. Running at a nominal 2GHz, you'd think it would have little or no chance against a Pentium 4 Northwood 800MHz FSB processor with a 60% faster clock speed. Clock speed, however, is only one of the factors required to determine overall performance.

We had an initial look at the Athlon 64 3200+ and two competing chipsets a couple of months ago. We found that both the nForce3 150 and VIA K8T800 were fast, stable and more than capable of extracting decent performance from the aforementioned CPU. Well, with an on-die memory controller present, AMD, with due respect to performance, had done most of the hard work. All the chipset manufacturer had to do was ensure an efficient AGP implementation. NVIDIA and VIA are old hands are chipset design, so it's not at all surprising that both got it right first time.

Our look gave the nod to VIA K8T800 on the grounds of a better native feature set. We've now seen Biostar motherboards afford DRAM latency adjustment. We've also witnessed superlative performance from the single-channel designs if low latencies are inputted. In terms of gaming, the 2GHz Athlon 64 3200+ is our preferred CPU of choice. That's quite a recommendation.

ABIT has seen the considerable promise inherent in AMD's hybrid CPU and decided to launch what it reckons is the ultimate S754 motherboard. It chooses the VIA K8T800 chipset as a base and puts forward the KV8-MAX3. Is it all things to all men ?. The Pentium 4 version, whilst expensive, is one of the best Canterwood boards available. The KV8-MAX3 has something to live up to.