Data-corruption bug hits VIA chipsets

Only obscure (ish) configs need apply

Updated VIA has confirmed a data-damaging glitch in its 686B Southbridge chip - a major part of the Taiwanese company's KT-133A chipset - and is working with mobo makers to prepare BIOS updates to fix the problem.

The southbridge part is used in the vast majority of AMD Athlon-oriented mobos, primarily the KT-133, but it can be used with northbridge parts from the Apollo Pro 133, KX-133A and AMD-76x chipsets too. VIA said it is investigating the problem to see how many chipsets are affected.

The bug was uncovered by German hardware site Au-Ja! It's not exactly a common problem: the date corruption affects large, 100MB and up file transfers between two hard drives connected to separate IDE channels exchanging the data by DMA. Having a Creative Labs Soundblaster Live card in place seems to exacerbate the problem.

VIA's BIOS fix works by adjusting a number of PCI settings, which, according to Tecchannel, suggests the problem is a result of competitive PCI access.

VIA told The Register that it is a BIOS issue, and it will be posting a fix on its Web site sometime next week. ®

Related Links

Au-Ja's initial report (in German)
Tecchannel's summary (in German)