About VIA chipsets and Mobos

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  11 November 2002
Question About VIA chipsets and Mobos

Hi Folks,

I'm wondering what exactly is wrong with VIA based motherboards. They seem to have great specs, but I've heard many people cautioning from their reliability. Is there anything specific to look out for. Thanks for you assistance.
  11 November 2002
well.. VIA has goofed up some things in the past... so people really hate them.. and with reason for the most part...

a AMD northbridge is a lot more stable than a VIA northbridge, for the most part...

i run a VIA mobo and its fine.. but i really think that their earlier chip sets had a lot of bugs...

sooo... i don't think you will have any problems.. but just make sure you do a lot of research on the mobo you decide on
  11 November 2002
I run a KT 400 VIA board, works great, no problems here.

When I was putting it together, I did notice that there are alot more jumpers then I have ever seen on a board. I had to give the manual a good look through to have everything configured right, usally everything works fine with the defalut with other boards. Looking at the VIA forums, most of the problems are due to people just not reading the manual and have wrong settings, and then whining about why there computer is unstable.
*Insert pretentious quote here*
  11 November 2002
Biggest thing to remember about Via motherboards....

1. You must be using Windows 2000 SP2 (I don't consider XP an OS so if you use it, its at your own risk)

2. You need to update the via 4 in 1 drivers. These are available from www.viaarena.com.

If you don't do either of those, you'll have horrid performance, and horrid stability. Sp2 includes a slew of AMD AGP fixes dealing with some inital issues in windows 2000 which were fixed with hotfixes. (You can run SP1, but you'll need the AMD hotfixes).

The next thing you gotta remember, is that because of the utter saturation of via motherboards on the market (especially during the initial tbird release) that alot of the stability problems aren't necessarily due to the motherboard, but other components in the system.

AMD rigs are usually "mistaken" for less stable solutions then Intel. The reason? They like 93 octane gas and won't take the piss wad water that most people shove in their systems.

Whats that actually mean? It means you've gotta have a kick ass power supply that supplies very stable voltage, ram of such a quality that your neighbors come over just to see it, and enough cooling so that the AC fails in your house the system keeps purring along. (Hopefully not because a kitten is rubbing against the heatsink).

If you keep the triad under control (Power, Ram, Cooling). You'll almost always have a stable system. (Barring any weird software issues or creativelabs products).

There's a huge troubleshooting faq that used to be on the discreet forum that I saved before they wiped the archive, I'm working on retyping it along with the new boxxtech system reviews, and that should help answer some more questions about amd/intel stability in professional workstations.

Whats stability? My definition is no more then a single crash in a 3 month period.
  11 November 2002
Awesome advice Greg

listen to this guy.. he knows what he is talking about
  11 November 2002
The last three motherboards I've owned are all VIA chipset based and have always been rock solid stable for me... and they're on Asus motherboards by the way.

As for the thing about VIA - WinXP incompatibily comment... WTF are you talking about?? I've been running WinXP Pro on my VIA based system since XP was released and haven't had a single crash in months... (and my computer outperforms 40% of other systems with the same setup)

AMD + Asus + VIA + Corsair + nVidia + WinXP = Stable as Tempered-Titanium!

  11 November 2002
Smile Hi,

Thank you all, for the great replies. MaDSheeP, I have a lot of respect for Greg, in fact he is among the people I was waiting to hear from...thank you both.

So Greg, about the "Golden Triad", I wonder what models you'd recommend for my P-R-C? I've read good stuff about Munchkin and Corsair XMS, which of them would you chose first. As for power and cooling...well I have very little knowledge, I hope you can help.

Why should we stay away from WinXP Pro?

Thanks a lot,
  11 November 2002
if you are planning a new motherboard soon, don't buy VIA, wait for an nForce2.

The nForce2 boards will be for sale very shortly and they wipe the floor with VIA.

VIA is already looking at releasing a KT400A revision to make up for issues with their current KT400, which is going to be relabelled as KT333A as was reported on a couple of the AMD hardware sites AMBMB and AMDZone a few weeks ago.

Hardware sites that have been posting reviews on the nForce2 board are already saying it is the fastest platform available for AMD processors.

Trust me on this one, it's worth waiting 2 more weeks.
TYAN S2912WG2NR * Dual Opteron 2360 2.5ghz Quad Cores * Quadro FX4600 * 16gb RAM
  11 November 2002
"As for the thing about VIA - WinXP incompatibily comment"

I never said they were unstable. Windows XP just has to many flaws to use in production.

Its more a personal choice then anything. But contact some IT departments and you'll hear a resounding "NO" if asked if they support Windows XP machines.

In most cases Windows XP is only considered an upgrade if your moving from a previous consumer level operating system, such as 95, 98, or ME. Involve Windows 2000, and it instantly becomes a downgrade...taking more resources, adding features which 99% end up disabling anyway (to try and recover the huge increase in resources), and then of course all the hug gaping security holes and microsoft spyware.

You did read the article that Windows XP prior to SP1 was the only microsoft operating system that upon visiting a website could have its entire harddrive instantly wiped without any sort of user input or choices? Makes you wonder what else microsoft is hiding.

And if your running a Dual Proc system, or Any sort of SCSI subsystem...Windows XP will give you a noticable decrease in throughput and performance.

Here's some quick url's on the subject....


Here's an actual video demonstrating how just visiting a website while running Windows XP (and windows XP only) Can utterly destroy your install and wipe critical files off your drive.


Some people didn't believe it, so they made a god damn video.

If you want I can dig up about 30-40 more articles on performance, system flaws, massive vulnerabilities, and general unhappiness with that particular OS.

Sure win2k has alot of nasty's too, but at least its on sp3, with a great # of them fixed.

So in quick summary. I am not recommending Windows XP. Take as you will, but I'll still put it down everytime I hear it. Feel free to check the maya, softimage listservs's, and other forums. They all recently had similar questions, and the end result was the same (On all forums and list servs). Use XP at your own risk, 2k recommended by all. (In some cases linux).

Back to the original question....

Power I usually go with enermax's, their pretty nice. Have been looking at the new vantec stealth PSU's, and Antec's new truepower's as well. Sparkle is also a great manufacturer of psu's. I think thermalright might even be making one.

Heatsinks for Socket A....

AX7, SK7, SLK-800 (All thermalright). These are all extremely high quality heatsinks, and use 80mm fans, which allow you to reduce noise levels while keeping up the same airflow ratings as 60mm fans. (Aka quieter system, greater performance.)

Check the www.overclockers.com heatsink rating chart to see where these fall. Also www.frostytech.com

For P4's....

Right now looks like the new Vantec VP4-C7040 is looking pretty swank. Its got a C/W rating of .18 but the crazy thing is its got a crazy low noise rating. Either that or the default stock Intel HSF (Which is actually pretty Ffin good).

For memory?

Mushkin, Corsair XMS, Crucial/Micron.

Crucial gives some peeps problems, which is why their at the end now.
  11 November 2002
to add to what Greg said about cooling,

the rumor that if you fan dies you are instantly fried is false. Provisionally.

Just recently I had my Vantec Tornado just stop cold. I noticed a definite change in sound volume in the room. I had time to shut down my system without frying anything.

I was using the SLK-800 heatsink. I also had some crosscurrents with other case fans but that was it.

In other words, PROPER setup saved my system. Ever see the inside of a Sun Enterprise server? the fans in there could cool a Southern California room on a hot day.

If you rely on a single fan as your protection, expect to have problems eventually.

Also, many AMD boards come with thermal protection, not all, but many do.
Mine is set to shut down over 60c.
TYAN S2912WG2NR * Dual Opteron 2360 2.5ghz Quad Cores * Quadro FX4600 * 16gb RAM
  11 November 2002
Gigabyte 8SG667?

What do you folks think of this mobo: Gigabyte GA-8SG667. In fact I'd love to know your opinion on the SIS648 chipset as a whole. Thanks a lot.

Here's the product link:
  11 November 2002
Re: Gigabyte 8SG667?

Quote: Originally posted by SMH
What do you folks think of this mobo: Gigabyte GA-8SG667. In fact I'd love to know your opinion on the SIS648 chipset as a whole. Thanks a lot.

SiS, Fair. nothing spectacular. Better than a VIA.

IF you don't need to place an order on Monday, wait until the nForce2 boards start shipping.

I can assure you that you won't regret it.
TYAN S2912WG2NR * Dual Opteron 2360 2.5ghz Quad Cores * Quadro FX4600 * 16gb RAM
  11 November 2002
Thanks a lot MadMax, I've been waiting to hear from you, or from Greg. Belive me I'm drooling on those nForce2 mobos. I'm actually an old hardware junky that didn't do his homework for years. I know a gem when I see one...but I just can't wait more than 5 Days at most. Blast this is such a bad situation to be in... BTW I hope you can help me in the other threads as well. Many thanks, you folks are great.

Last edited by SMH : 11 November 2002 at 09:47 PM.
  11 November 2002
I can be PM'd anytime you have a question.

As for 5 days, it is POSSIBLE you may hear a definite by then. I have to double check something tomorrow to be sure.
TYAN S2912WG2NR * Dual Opteron 2360 2.5ghz Quad Cores * Quadro FX4600 * 16gb RAM
  11 November 2002
MadMax I deeply appreciate your help. I'll be waiting for the good news. Thank you my friend.
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