Via Apollo 133A Mainboard Shootout
Little late in the game? Yes we are, but for good reason. Let me digress for a moment if you will. I received Tyan's Trinity 400 based on the Via Apollo Pro 133a some time back. I was excited to say the least to get my paws on one of the newest chipsets out with support for 4x AGP, bonafied support for 133FSB, onboard ATA 66, etc. Talk about your pipe dreams goin' up in smoke! Before receiving the board, I checked their site for some prelim specs and noticed FSB selections that looked quite tasty. Couple that with the extreme overclocking ability of the new PIII 550e reaching heights of 840mhz!
Needless to say that was not the case. I pulled out
every tool possible in my OC'ing arsenal known to man and could not get a decent
increase from this board to save my life. My Celery 366 known for it's ability
to run at 550 would not OC on this board, nor a 466 that runs at 541 all day
long and then some. Nada, zip, zilcho. Rated speed no problemo, the second I
went to tweaking those so called "adjustable FSB settings" in the BIOS, NO
FRIGGIN POST! No video, no beep codes, nothing. I thought fine then, we'll let
her run at rated until a new BIOS comes out and maybe that would help my OC'ing
No chance there paco. I waited and waited, nothing
seemed to show up that would help me in my quest. I gave up and made it my
server. I mean hell, it was rock solid stable at default speeds and settings,
just slower than piss.
Along came my bestest buds over at AOpen. Good ole' Al
Peng said, "Why sure Heath, we would love the opportunity to give you a smokin'
new board based on the Apollo Pro 133a that will let you OC to your hearts
desire and veritably spank the flailing Tyan offering!" (not an actual quote,
celebrity statement impersonated, this is just a parody and not to be taken
seriously) But you get my point here, and if you don't by the time this article
over with may the OC'ing gods strike you down where you stand!
Granted now gentle readers, not all of us suffer from the rare and unique ailment referred to Absolutus Overclockus (or in layman's terms, the insane urge to OC anything and everything possible, and then some!) Damn it all though, if a board is going to make those settings available I want the ability to use them. That's like hanging a large piece of fresh meat in front of a sizable wild mountain lion and having him strapped securely to a tree just out of reach.
Now I did my best here, honestly I did, to give everyone
involved the benefit of the doubt. I waited as long as I could to see if a beta
BIOS or some sort of patch or fix would show up, from Tyan or anyone at this
point, that would level the playing field. It never happened, and I doubt it
ever will. So we come to this end people, here we have for your viewing
pleasure, and in one case displeasure, two of the newest Via chipset
motherboards sporting the Apollo Pro 133a. Not to be dismissed yet, and just for
good old comparison purposes, my trusted and beloved AOpen AX6BC Pro Millennium
Edition in all of it's blackened, platinumed, and kick-assed OC'ing glory with
the venerable BX chipset that has led we the few and proud OC'ers to such great
heights of speed and insanity.
This is not going to be pretty folks, so I will take this
moment to recommend that anyone with a history of heart conditions, easily
disgusted by low performance, or has a weak stomach to leave this article
immediately. Also any small impressionable children should be supervised by an
adult so as to not mistake low numbers as a good thing. We
not held responsible in any way for damage caused by the intense uncontrollable
vomitous you may suffer from in the reading and viewing of these results.
Proceed with caution as I unveil the total abuse put forth on these products and
their ability, or lack there of to take the beating and perform under pressure.