Via Technologies is gearing up to introduce in February a line of mobile chipsets designed for notebooks based on Intel's Pentium M processor, a company executive said.
Via, based in Taipei, Taiwan, plans to introduce two Pentium M chipset models, the PN800 and PN880, said Ben Boyden, a Via spokesman. Both chipsets will support 400MHz DDR memory and incorporate an integrated Unichrome Pro graphics core that includes a hardware decoder for MPEG4 video and support for HDTV (high-definition TV), he said.
Chipsets are a core component in notebooks and other computers, connecting the processor with main memory and other components, including hard-disk drives and add-in cards.
The PN800 and PN880 chipsets will compete with Intel's own Pentium M chipset offerings, the 855 chipset family. Currently, the fastest memory supported by Intel's 855 chipset family is 333MHz DDR memory. However, the Santa Clara, California, chip maker plans to introduce a new chipset, codenamed Alviso, which will offer support for DDR2, a more advanced memory type that allows for increased performance and lower power consumption, during the second half of this year. Alviso will also offer support for PCI Express.
Via also plans to offer PCI Express support in future versions of its Pentium M chipsets, Boyden said.
The Alviso chipset will comprise a key part of Intel's upcoming Sonoma mobile platform, also slated for release during the second half of this year. Sonoma will include the Alviso chipset along with Dothan, an upcoming version of the Pentium M that will be produced using a 90-nanometer chip-making process and a dual-band wireless chipset that will support multiple versions of the 802.11 wireless networking standard.
Via is not the only third-party chipset vendor that will produce chipsets for Pentium M.
Silicon Integrated Systems (SIS) in Sept. announced plans to introduce two Pentium M chipsets, the SIS648MX and the SIS661MX, during the first quarter of 2004. Both chipsets will support 400MHz DDR memory and the SIS661MX will also incorporate an integrated graphics core, according to the company.