ASUS P3C 2000 Camino Board - Page 1

By Wy Mun
Hardware One


INTEL’s Camino (or I820) chipset has been the long-awaited successor to their popular, but aging BX model. With slated support for AGP 4x + Fast Writes and up to 800MHz memory bandwidth via RAMBUS technology, the Camino was posed as the firm replacement for its BX predecessor.

However, when it finally did arrive, it was marred by the non-availability + exorbitant RDRAM pricing (which the chipset was designed for use with). Perhaps INTEL, in their fervor to develop a chip without compromise, may have overlooked the affordability of such dependent technologies in their roadmap.

Then entered VIA with their next generation Apollo chipsets (133A) that offered similar features, albeit only with support for slower 133MHz SDRAMs. With their more progressive roadmap (their next chipset supposedly supports 266MHz DDRAMs), VIA seems to offer a more “VIA”-ble interim solution and serious short-term threat to INTEL Camino boards. 

Nevertheless, a few motherboard manufacturers have still opted to adopt INTEL’s Camino chipset, but circumventing the RDRAM shortage by producing slower SDRAM renditions. Perhaps, a nudge from INTEL may have precipitated this, as part of a desperate measure to rival VIA’s next generation Apollo-based boards. Asustek is one of the few makers that used chipsets from both factions and has recently released their Camino based P3C series. As usual, several variants are offered – including an innovative RIMM version (with Riser adaptor card so that SDRAMs can also be used), a purely SDRAM version, etc. 

We were fortunate to get hold of the Asustek P3C-2000, SDRAM-based version for testing.

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