I'll admit it now, I didn't want to do this review at all. Seven KT400A boards (with another one inserted into things at the last minute, after I'd finished with the initial batch) on the surface of things seems like something for a reviewer to get his or her teeth into. In reality, it's a nightmare. Lots (were talking close to 500 seperate tests) of benchmarks to be run, lots of hardware swapping on the test bed, lots of research, lots of note taking. One board is hard enough, given the depth we go in to at Hexus, but eight? Bleh.
But, what eventually sold it to me was the desire to see what's going on with VIA these days. NVIDIA and nForce2 have, deservedly, taken all the available spotlight on Socket A, leaving VIA based boards struggling along in the not-so-lime light. Every time someone asks me for Socket A purchase advice, I always recommend nForce2. So it was the desire to see if VIA boards were being unfairly left out, due to previous poor chipsets (I'm sure they wont mind me saying that), that made me take the review on.
So, I asked for the boards to be sent up, and lo and behold, they duly appeared a few days later (followed by the tardy MSI a week or so after that).
It makes sense, before getting in to the meat and potatoes of this behemoth of a review, to take a look at just what KT400A as a chipset is all about. I'll have a chat about it, comparing to nForce2 as we go along, along with some forward thinking commentary with regards to KT600, their latest AMD chipset that's hopefully going to debut soon, when applicable.