Karbosguide.com - Module 2d.03a

Non-Intel chip sets (mostly for for Super 7 motherboards)


The contents:

  • What is Super 7?
  • Two bridges
  • VIA Apollo MVP3
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  • What is Super 7?

    After Intel aborted the Socket 7 motherboards, other vendors took over. AMD supplied us with new powerfull CPUs, and new chip sets were required.

    Since Intel no longer develops CPUs or chip sets for Socket 7 motherboards, AMD and others have done a lot to continue the life of the Socket 7.

    Companies like VIA, ALi and SIS are all producing inexpensive and high performing chip sets. These vendors are giving Intel a hard time since their chip sets offer Pentium II performance from the simpler, low-cost Socket 7 motherboards including AGP and 100 MHz bus.

    Two bridges

    Here you see the architecture of a modern chip set consisting of two chips: a north and a south bridge. Both bridges are essentially routers. This means that they route data traffic from one bus (network) to another. The north bridge takes all the heavy traffic, and the south bridge routes in to a lot of different narrow routes:

    This figure is pretty close to the Super 7 chip set described here below as well as to Intel chip sets like LX and BX.

    To implement the 100 MHz the design has to be well laid out. A cooling element on the north bridge of the chip set is sometimes used when the system bus reaches 100 MHz.

    The Super 7 motherboards come from several vendors. FIC supplies boards with 2 MB L2 cache.


    VIA Apollo MVP3

    It is interesting to follow companies like Via. This chip set for Socket 7 motherboards promises very good performance with its 100 MHz bus connecting the CPU with the L2 cache and possible PC100 SDRAM. Other features include:

  • AGP graphics
  • Supports up to 1 GB RAM in 64 Mbit FPM/EDO/SDRAM/PC100 modules
  • 2 MB L2 cache support
  • Virtual Clock Synchronization (VCS) for optimal timing.

    The Apollo MVP3 chip set consists of a VT82C598AT system controller (476 pin BGA, the "north bridge") and a VT82C586B PCI to ISA bridge (208 pin PQFP, the "south bridge"):

    The VIA Apollo MVP3 is a good chip set to be used with modern high-end Socket 7 compatible CPUs like the AMD K6-2.

    Tests show that also K6 and even Pentium MMX CPUs can work with this chip set using a 100 MHz bus.

    VIA Apollo MVP4

    This chip set was introduced in late 1998. It gives new life to the Socket 7, including an in-chip graphics controller. Most important is the new ATA-66 interface for improved hard disk performance.

    The chip set also consists of two chips, a north and a south bridge:

    From VIA's own material:

    VT82C501 SMA North Bridge

  • Integrated advanced 2D/3D AGP graphics with setup engine and DVD hardware acceleration
  • 100 MHz CPU/memory bus
  • 66/75/83/95/100 MHz FSB (Front Side Bus) capabilities
  • Advanced ECC memory controller supports up to 768 MB PC100 SDRAM, Virtual Channel SDRAM, EDO, FPM RAM
  • Compatible with all Socket 7 processors
  • Synchronous/Asynchronous AGP/ PCI/memory operation
  • 492-pin BGA package VT82C686 Super South Bridge

  • Integrated AC-97 2.0 (meets PC98 Basic Audio spec.)/SoundBlaster-compatible legacy audio
  • Integrated Super I/O: FDC, parallel port, serial port, IR, Voltage, temperature, and fan speed hardware monitoring
  • UDMA/33 / ATA-66
  • Advanced mobile PC power management
  • USB
  • ACPI
  • compatible with all VIA Socket 7 and Slot 1 north bridges
  • 352-pin BGA package

    So much for these chip sets. See VIA's own site for more information.


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    Learn more

    Read more about RAM in module 2e

    Read about the Pentium in module 3c

    Read about the Pentium II's etc. in module 3e

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