Another Via Bug

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Big thanks to Christian Schmelzer for alerting us to this.

The article is here. It’s in German, so if you need a translation, go here and cut and paste: http://www.chip.de/news_stories/news_stories_163106.html

The bug affects motherboards with a Via VT8363A Northbridge (i.e. all Via KT133A boards) with codes beginning with 1EA0 or 1EA4 on the last line of print on the chipset. Chips with codes starting with 2EA1 are OK.

Based on the dates shown on pictures of the Northbridges shown in the articles, Via definitely made the buggy Northbridges until late February, and might have made them until late March.

What’s the bug? A failure to warm boot when an Athlon-C (133/266Mhz) processor is being used.

MSI Germany has offered to exchange K7T-Turbo boards with the buggy Northbridge. No word on any other boards or anyone else yet, though this problem could potentially affect boards from any company.

A spokesman for MSI Germany made two points about this:

1. If your screen goes blank after an attempted warm boot from DOS or Windows, you should check to see just what Northbridge you have.

2. Increasing the I/O voltage from 3.3V to 3.45V can take care of the problem 20-30% of the time.

What Should You Do?

Standard disclaimer:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Northbridges usually have a fan stuck on them. You can’t tell what you have until you remove it.

Depending on what you have, getting it off might be tough, and getting it back on even tougher. If you have an Athlon-C, and have never experienced the problem, odds are you never will. Don’t look for trouble. If you do and find it, blame yourself for not leaving well enough alone.

On the other hand, if you have had this problem regularly, pester your mobo maker first. Don’t check until they’ve announced they’re going to do something about it.


I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot about this in the upcoming days, but that’s all we know right now.

My guess is this isn’t endemic, certainly not every KT133A has this problem. But this is the sort of situation I’ve been carrying on about the last few weeks: not every problem affects everyone.

Email Ed


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