Subject: VIA VP2 chipset
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG, port-i386@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Michael L. VanLoon -- <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/23/1997 22:39:06
Just an FYI...  This might especially be of interest to those wishing
to minimize their support of Intel.

I recently bought a new Socket-7 (Pentium) motherboard which uses the
VIA/Apollo VP2 chipset -- the FIC PA-2007.  It's currently listed as
the fastest Socket-7 motherboard on Tom's Hardware Page.  I believe
the VP2 was also at one point known as the AMD 640 PCI chipset, as
well -- but I may be mistaken on that point.

In case anyone was wondering, it runs NetBSD extremely well.  I am
able to run my Cyrix 6x86 (M1) P166+ (133MHz really) CPU at 2x75MHz
(actually 6x86 P200+ speed).  It also has a 1MB L2 cache.  It
absolutely screams with a 75MHz memory bus and a 37.5MHz PCI bus.
(Kept in context, of course -- my Pentium Pro is still significantly
faster at most CPU-intensive tasks.)

I have three SCSI busses in the machine (a 2940UW and a dual-channel
3940UW), with a four-drive striped ccd (plus a boot/root drive and a
CD-ROM drive).  I also have a DEC 21140 ethernet board.  Together,
that's two additional PCI-PCI bridges, in addition to what's built
into the motherboard.

That controller/drive combo ran find on my old Triton-1 board (Asus
P55TP4N) with NetBSD-1.2.1, but would lock up with current since the
ahc driver was changed to do DMA-mapped command processing vs. the old
I/O-port based command processing (at least that's the way I
understand it).

The VP2 runs NetBSD-current with all bus optimizations enabed except
CPU to PCI write buffer (turned on were PCI Dynamic Bursting, PCI
Master 0-ws Write, Quick Frame Generation, and Peer Concurrancy).

With four old 1GB SCSI drives striped over the three SCSI busses, with
a well fragmented filesystem, I was able to get sustained reads of
6-7MB/s, and sustained writes of 7-9MB/s, through the filesystem.  The
old Triton-1 with 66/33MHz PCI couldn't come close to that, all other
hardware being the same.

Like I said, just FYI, for all those who were wondering about the
current state of non-Intel Socket-7 chipsets on the market.

  Michael L. VanLoon                 
      Contract software development for Windows NT, Windows 95 and Unix.
             Windows NT and Unix server development in C++ and C.

        --<  Free your mind and your machine -- NetBSD free un*x  >--
    NetBSD working ports: 386+PC, Mac 68k, Amiga, Atari 68k, HP300, Sun3,
        Sun4/4c/4m, DEC MIPS, DEC Alpha, PC532, VAX, MVME68k, arm32...
    NetBSD ports in progress: PICA, others...