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Second-tier chipset designers, namely VIA Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems Corp., are likely to delay their chipsets supporting PCI Express bus to mid- or even late-October, suggest reports from Taiwanese press. Both are expected to suffer financially from the postponements, as they may be not in position to land orders on the chipsets before computer makers start preparations for Christmas season.

VIA and SiS Delay Chips Again

Taiwan-based SiS and VIA are reported to begin volume deliveries of their North Bridge chips with PCI Express support in mid- and late-October respectively at the earliest, claims DigiTimes web-site. It is reported that VIA’s PT894 chip faces delay because of redesign, but it is unclear why SiS postpones its SiS656 and SiS649 North Bridge chips that were officially announced earlier this year.

Recently unveiled plans of VIA Technologies include VIA PT894 and VIA PT894 PRO chipsets. Both are projected to support Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron processors with 800MHz or 1066MHz Quad Pumped Bus, dual-channel memory controller for DDR or DDR2 SDRAM memory at 400MHz and 667MHz speeds respectively. The difference between the PT894 and PT894 PRO is that the former only sports one PCI Express x16 and 1 PCI Express x4 lanes, while the latter bolsters dual PCI Express slots for graphics cards.

SiS656 core-logic is the company’s first North-Bridge to support PCI Express x16 bus for graphics as well as dual-channel DDR/DDR2 memory controllers that is capable to handle 400MHz, 533MHz and 667MHz memory modules delivering up to 10.6GB/s of peak memory bandwidth, substantially higher than required nowadays. The new chipset will work with Intel’s Pentium 4 and Celeron processors in mPGA478 or LGA775 packaging with 400MHz, 533MHz or 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus. SiS649 is an entry-level chipset that sports Intel Pentium 4 processors, single-channel DDR or DDR2 memory as well as PCI Express x16 lane for graphics cards.

Revenues Under Concern

Computer makers typically begin to order computer components manufacturers hardware starting from early November in order to build enough PCs for Christmas season. In case VIA Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems are unable to supply chips along with platforms’ reference designs to mainboard makers early enough to allow mainboards to ramp up in production, both will be likely to miss some of their revenues.

VIA Technologies, who once promised to be ahead of Intel Corp. with its chipset that supports DDR2 and PCI Express, now enjoys high sales of its chipset products for AMD64 and AMD 32-bit microprocessors. Right now about 10% of chipsets VIA ships are designed for AMD’s 64-bit products.

Silicon Integrated Systems is also likely to sell AMD64 and AMD Athlon XP intended chipsets in growing quantities.

Representatives for VIA and SiS did not comment on the news-story.


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