Shuttle AK37GT/R KT400 Motherboard Review
Progress, as you may guess, is inevitable. This is most pertinent to the hardware side of the computing industry. As CPUs' speed increases at staggering rates, fuelled by technical innovation and rivalry, the gulf between the processors' speed and the rest of the system continues to widen.
CPU manufacturers have realised this problem and attempted to to raise the front-side-bus of their processors to compensate a little. Having to wait, say, 20 clock cycles before you can address the CPU again is becoming inefficient. From AMD's point of view, their Athlon variant moved on to a 133FSB some time ago. Since then, their CPU speeds have increased unabated, but the system has been held at the lower FSB.
AMD, much like Intel, have realised that simply raising the ceiling with respect to sheer clock speeds is only one part of the answer, you also have to pay attention to the system's FSB. You need to have the ability to move more information to the CPU at any given time.
AMD motherboard manufacturers are readying themselves for this imminent FSB move. VIA, arguably the strongest player in the AMD-based motherboard manufacturing market, are naturally keen not to let their position slip. We've previously seen the release of updated chipsets that take recent hardware developments into account.
Taking the general hardware situation into account, and paying closer attention to the AMD front, it is of no real surprise that we have a newer, revised VIA chipset currently doing the reviewing rounds. The KT400 is VIA's latest attempt to ensure their motherboards are as up-to-date as possible. The 400 in the title, as you may have already guessed, refers to it unofficially supporting DDR400 memory.
Shuttle, another of the Taiwanese-based motherboard manufacturers, recently impressed me with their Pentium 4 SiS648-based motherboard. It was fast, feature-rich, and stable, 3 of the most important hallmarks that I expect to see in a current motherboard.
So, let's see what the KT400 platform and Shuttle's interpretation of it can add to AMD's world.