Socket-A AMD 760 Motherboard Roundup: Farewell to a Beautyby Mike Andrawes on November 3, 2001 4:10 AM EST
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AMD's 760 chipset was the first to bring DDR SDRAM to the PC's main memory subsystem. VIA and ALi quickly followed with their own Athlon DDR chipsets, but neither of those platforms were able to keep up with the AMD 760. AMD had originally intended to introduce DDR SDRAM for the Athlon, then slowly let the 3rd parties take back the Athlon chipset market. With VIA and ALi falling behind on the performance curve, AMD had to continue supplying a large number of chipsets to the market.
More recently, we've seen the introduction of the SiS 735, then the VIA KT266A, both of which were finally able to eclipse the AMD 760. One slight problem - it's still relatively hard to find KT266A boards in the retail market and there's only one major manufacturer mass producing SiS 735 boards at this point in time. The other major contender, the NVIDIA nForce, is even further off into the future as far as retail availability goes. So if you need a DDR Athlon motherboard immediately, the AMD 760 is still a reasonable choice. Not to mention that you'll be avoiding some of the issues that have been reported with KT266 motherboards and you'll have more selection than you would with the SiS 735.
In this roundup we have a total of nine boards, they are the ABIT KG7-RAID, ASUS A7M266, Biostar, Chaintech, DFI, EPoX, FIC AD11, Gigabyte 7DXR, and the MSI K7 Master-S.
The AMD 760 Chipset and Drivers
The AMD 760 chipset debuted almost a year ago, with the main purpose being the introduction of DDR SDRAM technology. When first released, the AMD 760 chipset consisted of the 761 North Bridge and the 766 South Bridge. The AMD 761 North Bridge provides the DDR SDRAM interface and 133MHz FSB support in addition to AGP 4X support. The 766 South Bridge contains support for Ultra ATA-100 and some other features.
However, since the North and South Bridges are linked via the PCI bus, the VIA 686B and its lower price tag became the most commonly used South Bridge with the 760 chipset. In fact, all motherboards except one in this roundup use the VIA 686B instead of the AMD 766 South Bridge. The sole exception is the Chaintech CT-7KJD, which uses the VIA VT8231.
In order to make sure that this hybrid chipset performs well, install the AGP driver from AMD and the IDE drivers from VIA. For further details on the AMD 760 chipset and the technology behind it, please refer to our AMD 760 chipset review.