AnandTech: Linux Pentium III Chipset Comparison

“Linux video card performance tests are becoming more and more
popular, but arguably the most important part of your computer has
seen very little coverage in terms of Linux testing. In this round,
we consider Pentium III chispets saving an Athlon comparison for a
future article. The three chipsets are the old, but still potent
Intel BX chipset, represented by the Asus CUBX, the modern,
on-board video sporting Intel 815 chipset, represented by the
popular Asus CUSL2 and the outsider, VIA’s Apollo Pro 133A,
represented by QDI’s Advance 10.”

“What makes this article especially relevant to Linux users is
that many chipsets are not properly supported. It’s especially
disheartening to have your several month-long uptime broken by a
hardware AGP bug that locks the machine. This is sometimes common
even after chipsets have been available for quite a while; hardware
bugs are often the hardest to track down. While Intel’s chipsets
are often well supported, the features of the 815 have taken until
almost now to be supported. Development kernels are required for
full ATA/100 support and the on-board/off-board video card duality
can cause problems with agpgart, Linux’s kernel module for AGP
support, unless you use the latest kernels.”

“So, this brings us to what makes a chipset important to a Linux
user. Above all, Linux users value their stability. Hardware bugs
and software insufficiencies alike can lessen your uptime to near
Windows NT levels. Perhaps next most important is the speed and
quality of support for these chipsets. Intel chipsets have always
enjoyed quicker support in the Linux kernel, so they have an
up-front advantage here, but neither company hides information from
Linux developers looking to support new features in the chipsets.
Performance would have to fall in last place of these three in
terms of importance. The reason being that Linux users don’t enjoy
the benefit of immediate support for feature X or enhancement Y,
they must code support themselves. Thus, support is typically
slower to become available and often not as completely implemented
or stable as it would be for an operating system that manufacturers
find “important.”

“In this article, we’ll try to explain how each chipset performs
in memory, disk and AGP performance while bringing up important
usage and stability points along the way. Discard what knowledge
you have of these motherboards and their Windows performance, under
Linux, the varying levels of support can really tip the


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