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For those of you looking to build your HTPC, do not go with a KT133A chipset if you plan to use an ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon (probably all ATI Radeons as well). The FIC AZ11EA uses the KT133A (VT 6363A North & 686B South) and I could not get it to play DVD's or video without hanging. I tried this on Windows 98SE, ME, and Win 2K using every available driver from ATI, FIC, and VIA themselves.


What I did do was to swap the components to another PC I have that uses a FIC AD11 motherboard. This uses the AMD 761 chipset (AMD 761 North and VIA 686B South). This system has been super stable. The specs:


Windows ME

Enlight EN-72370X3 Case w/ 300 Watt PS (not the quietest but AMD certified and the slide in rails made the swap sweet)

FIC AD11 Motherboard (stable and just $91)

AMD Athlon 1.33 GHz CPU

Cooler Master DP5-6H11 Fan

Crucial 512 MB PC2100 RAM

ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon w/ 32MB

IBM 60GXP 40GB 7200 RPM hard drive

Linksys WMP11 Wireless NIC

Intel Wireless Keyboard, Mouse, and Game Controllers

Pioneer 106S DVD


My Home Theater specs:

NEC LT150

Da-Lite 59"x80" Perm Wall w/ Cinema Vision

Yamaha Natural Sound RXV596 Receiver

Yamaha Natural Sound CD-X396 CD

Sony Playstation 2

Pioneer DV-434 DVD (although I use the HTPC now)

Polk Speakers (Front, Center, Surround, and Sub)


A few notes:

1) Windows ME's Restore function eases backing out drivers

2) The ATI S/PDIF has been acceptable w/ no sync issues

3) ATI's support is terrible

4) Intel's wireless peripherals are often on sale at Intel.com

5) The Powerstip 1028x576 settings, found in this forum, rock!

6) With the LT150 and an AMD Athlon I no longer have to heat the 3rd floor where my Home Theater is ;)


Argy
 

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thanks for all the info Argy. I too use an AMD 761/686B combo motherboard. If the manufacturers only had the extra 25 cents to use the AMD southbridge rather than the Via 686B I think we'd be even better off. The AMD 761 boards were the fastest AMD platform motherboards on the market for a good part of the year, and now it looks like either the nForce boards, or the KT266A boards are going to sit on the top.


The nForce chipset boards have been getting some mixed reviews however. I can only hope that the nForce's type of integration and architecture will become a standard. The newest SiS chips have yet to hit the market as well. The 735 was a wonderful re-entry point for SiS to bring them up as a real contender to provide a stable and fast chipset.


I'm loving this AMD 761/Via 686B combo from Epox, but I'm ready for the next batch of speed demons as well.
 

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Here is a small review

First of all I use an Elitegroup SIS based board.

The board itself, very solid and lots of empty space due to the high integration of the chipset.

It takes SDR and DDR Ram but you can´t mix both (2 slots for SDR and 2 for DDR).


The board was dirt cheap around 70$ here in Europe.


Well my impression after two days of testing. Very solid only one bug found where I am even not sure if it is SIS related. The bug is that the ATI card when playing videos turned on the monitor power saving on an infrequent base. Turning off the Power Saving in Bios resolved the problem-I´m sure this will be resolved soon either by a bios update or by new ATI drivers. The pro. I have a very critical card-namely the Hauppauge DVBs which even chokes on some intel based boards and which really has troubles with most via chipsets and it works on this board like a charm.

So far no strange lockups, corrupted data or other weird effects. I´m pretty pleased this board really is impressive given SIS past and that the chipset has been out for not even a month. Intel has done worse with its latest chipset (graphic cards frying the motherboard ....)
 

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Hi Argy:


___Unfortunately, you are not telling most of us here anything new in regards to the VIA chipsets for HTPC uses … It truly is to bad given the cost you can build an AMD inside equipped performance PC for today but even with the newer KT266A’s with the non-buggy north and south bridges, there are problems with DOA boards in the amount I have not seen before in the tech groups. I have also read about GeForce3 problems with the Detonator 4 problems using Win9x/Millennium on almost all VIA boards available currently as well. Win2K and XP seem to have bypassed this one? The nForce boards have some kind of instability problem that has yet to be openly discussed. The SiS based 735’s have all kinds of teething problems and is just one reason why so many board manufacturers have passed on it. I can only hope for the SiS745 to be the next AMD savior but if you are looking for an AMD inside unit in the next few weeks, I would definitely wait for the dual AMD 760 MPX based chipsets. We certainly do not need the extra chip but rumors abound that MSI may be releasing an enthusiast version for less than $200.00. Will it be compatible? Will it be stable? Until the boards are in our hands once again, who knows?


___In the mean time, the I845-D’s should be available early next month. Stability is as it should be, meaning excellent from the top tier board manufacturers but as with all P4 solutions, you can expect a higher price for the equivalent performance in comparison to an AMD inside setup. Intel in their mighty wisdom has spent so much on R&D developing the RDRAM based chipsets only to abandon them for DDR-2 solutions next year! If they would have instead spent this money on DDR based dual memory controller equipped chipsets in the first place, we would not all be mired in the amount of chipsets and boards we have in front of us currently. I need not mention the almost doubling in thermal output for the equivalent performance of a P4 vs. PIII as well … What a waste IMO.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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Wayne,


From what I've read, and no I haven't read every article (but searched for chipset models), the chipset specifics are a bit lean. I wanted to add detail to the subject. I appreciate the wealth of information you have posted though.


In regards to VIA, I'd be curious as to how compatible the P4M266 is. Hopefully the chipset will make some headway (if they make it through the current legal battle). At least it has caused Intel to step up the I845-D delivery date.


Argy
 

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I just spent the last 7 days struggling to build my first HTPC. I had a similar problem with the same chipset. I hope to post a long version with all the details when I get time.


The one thing that seemed to fix the crashes was a unofficial patch from the Via website:

http://admin.viahardware.com/download/george/readme.htm



The best place I've found for solutions to Via chipset problems is the forums on the Via website:

http://forums.viaarena.com/



--Dan
 

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While your advice is probably sound, I happen to use the KT133A chipset in my machine and have it working just fine (with a radeon no less). I did have to do some BIOS tweaking to get DVDs to play without hanging the machine, and I later found that these tweaks are documented on the web somewhere but aren't very easy to find.


Note I posted about this when I fixed this problem months ago but of course the post went mostly ignored. :)
 

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i have the AOpen AK73Pro with the VIA Apollo kt133 chipset and i havent encountered too many problems as of yet.


My question is whether the m-audio cards conflict with this chipset in particular. I plan on buying an audiophile 24/96 or a Delta Theater when available but it would be nice to know ahead of time if there are going to be compatibility issues with my HTPC between these sound cards and the kt133 chipset.
 
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