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Shuttle Spacewalker AV30 - Shuttle Spacewalker AV30
Wed Feb 21, 2001 | 12:27A| PermaLink
It's really obvious that an investment in a kick ass mobo lasts for no more that two months. For young computer users the actual evolution rhythm it's pretty normal but the older ones remember the times when you were able to buy the most expensive PC and use it for several years with no need to exchange parts. It's true that software is no so evolved like hardware so at least theoretically it's possible to use the same computer for many years. The real reason why hardware is in front of software wave is a technical one. Most software programs are complex requiring tens of programers working on developing while the design of a motherboard for example can be done by only several people. It's easier to predict hardware events than software bugs (I bet you wouldn't like a motherboard with over 10,000 "strange behaves"). Although most software isn't able to use the entire power of a computer and although the medium CPU utilization is below 20 percent people ask for powerful machines. There are situations (for example database working) when the system is limited by memory bandwidth. Major manufacturers work from quite a while to new memory standards but unfortunately things haven't changed too much. The goal was not so easy to achieve: the memory had to be fast, to deliver more bandwidth, and even more important to be affordable. DDR succeeded to answer to these concerns more than RAMBUS so chipset manufacturers adopted it like a solution to bandwidth problems. The main advantage of DDR is price so most companies still see DDR like the perfect price/performance for home users. Industry made several steps to adopt RAMBUS from 1999 but right now most integrators offer it in conjunction with Intel motherboards for Xeon/PIII based servers. VIA is not preferred in professional medium; there are no serious servers using motherboards based on VIA chipsets. It's wrong to assume that VIA based motherboards are unstable but there were problems with drivers under Windows NT and 2000, with memory timings and why not with company background so most professional users were skeptical. But, the newest VIA chipset is capable of working with DDR at 133 FSB and it is common called VIA Apollo 266. Shuttle was the first company able to offer an almost "ready for production" motherboard so we will test it in this review. We will also talk about VIA's chipset and DDR.

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