As an example of a very close collaboration between AMD and chipset designers a source informed us that nearly all core-logic designers that develop AMD Athlon- and AMD Athlon 64-series platforms will unveil chipsets with or without integrated graphics for Mobile Athlon 64 CPUs later this year or early next year.
VIA Technologies, the number one chipset supplier for AMD platforms, will shortly announce its VIA K8N800 chipset. The company wants this one to be the first ever chipset for the new generation of AMD Mobile Athlon 64 processors. The product will provide Socket 754 Mobile Athlon 64 support as well as integrated UniChrome2 graphics core with DuoView technology. Unfortunately, VIA decided to use UMA memory architecture and the graphics processor will use system memory as a frame-buffer. Needless to say that you should not dream about any performance highs in 3D with such graphics keeping in mind that the Athlon 64 CPUs have memory controller inside and any transaction between RAM and graphics core should be pretty slow because of that fact (in conventional systems with integrated chipsets memory controller is located on the same die as graphics core and performs relatively well). Besides, the VIA K8N800 will offer us external AGP 8x, USB 2.0, Serial ATA-150 and so on. Mass production of the part will begin in the fourth quarter of the year, thus, we may see some full-size or even thin & light notebooks based on mobile version of AMD Athlon 64 chips.
NVIDIA will also not miss the unique opportunity to occupy another market, even not a big one. The firm will soon unveil its nForce3 Go core-logic that will support Mobile AMD Athlon 64 CPUs and will inherit a number of features from the desktop nForce3 Pro 150 and nForce3 250 platforms.
There is almost no information about other chipset makers, such as ALi, SiS and ATI.
ALi Corporation is primarily focused on mobile platforms at this point, so, I am convinced that the company will offer its M1687 chipset for both notebook and desktop systems.
ATI Technologies has been very successful with its RADEON IGP 320-M device, hence, it may reveal another best-seller for the Athlon 64 chips designed for mobile computers, but, maybe, not this year.
Silicon Integrated Systems plans to launch SiS760 and SiS761 chipsets in addition to its SiS755 later in 2003. It is possible that at least one of them will be positioned for mobile computers.
As you see, the chipset designers are ready for both desktop and mobile Athlon 64 CPUs. The only concern now is sufficient quantity of AMD’s 64-bit microprocessors for consumers this year.