With all of VIA's recent successes in the chipset business the P4X266 has been an unfortunate blemish on their otherwise spotless record. Without VIA the Athlon could have never gained the acceptance and support that it did early on and without VIA we would have all been running PC100 SDRAM or RDRAM with our Pentium IIIs.

The P4X266 was a completely different situation however; it was a chipset that almost every motherboard manufacturer tried, but not a single one would dare to promote it. The chipset proved to us all that RDRAM isn't a necessity for the current Pentium 4 but it also made clear that engineering accomplishments can easily be forgotten in the name of politics.

What made things even more complicated for VIA was the fact that SiS' 645 was officially sanctioned by Intel and the 845 with DDR support was also being released much earlier than expected.

With increasing political pressure from Intel as well as much more viable alternatives, most motherboard manufacturers turned the other way when VIA mentioned the P4X266. The chipset had a lot of potential and performed quite well but there was simply too great of a risk involved to mass-produce boards based on the forbidden solution.

There were a few manufacturers however that went ahead with production of P4X266 based motherboards. These brave few have been shipping their P4X266 designs for months now in spite of political pressure and in spite of arguably superior alternatives.

Not too long ago we rounded up the best of the best i845 motherboards with DDR support and many cried out for a similar roundup of P4X266 offerings. While we're still waiting for more SiS 645 solutions to make a third roundup a reality, today we'll be taking a look at what we like to call The Forbidden Five - five motherboards based on the P4X266 chipset. For comparison purposes we've also thrown in VIA's own P4X266A motherboard sold under the VIA VPSD brand.

The Chipsets

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now