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Chipset designer VIA Technologies formally announced its new lineup of chipsets supporting the latest Intel Pentium 4 processors, PCI Express interconnection technology as well as DDR2 memory. While the chips from the Taiwanese designer come late, they carry feature-set not presently offered by companies like Intel Corp..

VIA’s new chipsets – PT880 Pro, PT894 and PT894 Pro – target different groups of users providing flexible set of capabilities, such as support for both PCI Express x16 and AGP 8x slots for graphics cards, simultaneous support for dual-channel DDR and DDR2 memory at 400MHz and 667MHz respectively, as well as dual PCI Express x16 slots for graphics cards for those who demand extreme performance using a Multi-GPU technology. VIA claims all of its new products will enable cost-effective mainboards.

The new VIA PT-series chipset North Bridges – the chips that contain memory and graphics bus controllers – can be combined with VIA VT8237 South Bridge or the forthcoming VIA VT8251 South Bridge – input/output controllers – that offer affordability and feature-set.

VIA Technologies' New Chipset Solutions

North Bridges

PT880 Pro

PT894

PT894 Pro

PSB

533/800/1066MHz

533/800/1066MHz

533/800/1066MHz

Dual-channel memory controller

DDR at up to 400MHz; DDR2 at up to 667MHz

DDR at up to 400MHz; DDR2 at up to 667MHz

DDR at up to 400MHz; DDR2 at up to 667MHz

Graphics interface

PCI Express x16; AGP 8x

PCI Express x16

PCI Express x16 + PCI Express x4 or PCI Express x8 + PCI Express x8

Additional interfaces

-

2x PCI Express x1

-

South Bridges

 

VT8237

VT8251

PCI Express

-

2x PCI Express x1

PCI

6

6

Serial ATA

4

equals the number of SATA II ports

Serial ATA II

-

4

RAID

0, 1, 0+1

0, 1, 0+1, 5

Parallel ATA

2

2

Ethernet

10/100Mb/s

10/100Mb/s

Audio

8-channel, AC'97

8-channel high definition audio

USB 2.0

8

8

FireWire

-

-

“Based on feedback from our customers, there is strong demand for a chipset architecture that provides the bridge between new technologies such as PCI Express, DDR2 and LGA775 processors, and established technologies like DDR and AGP graphics,” commented Richard Brown, Associate Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies.

“While other PCI Express chipset solutions are not able to offer this, largely ignoring the needs of many mainstream users, the new VIA PT Series chipsets offer a uniquely flexible platform that ensures smooth transition and, ultimately, faster adoption of PCI Express and DDR2 technologies,” Mr. Brown added.

Innovative Intel Pentium 4-supporting chipsets may boost VIA’s revenues, as currently the company supplies relatively outdated core-logic products for Intel Pentium 4 platform as well as products for AMD Athlon XP and AMD Athlon 64 computers that account for about 15% of the market.

According to VIA’s estimations its new chipsets offer approximately the same, or little bit lower, performance as Intel’s 915 and i925X-series core-logic products.

While VIA Technologies was a bit late to win designs with major OEMs, such as Dell and HP, the company claims leading mainboard makers, such as ABIT, ASUS, Biostar, Chaintech, DFI, ECS, EPoX, Gigabyte, Jetway, MSI and Soltek, will supply their products powered by VIA’s recently-announced PT-series products.

It is unclear when the actual mainboards VIA PT are planned to hit the market.

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