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Single-chip x86-compatible chipset runs Linux

Jul 6, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Via says its “single-chip” chipset targeting UMPCs (ultra-mobile PCs), ultra-small notebooks, and other portable devices will ship in Q3. The VX700 combines north- and south-bridge functions into a single 35mm-square chip that mates with Via's x86-compatible C7-M and C7-M ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors. It supports Linux.

Interestingly, VX700 availability could make Via's C7-M and C7-M ULV processors the first x86-compatible chips to support either one- or two-chip chipsets; Via previously shipped its VN800 northbridge that can be paired with C7-M or Pentium M processors in traditional two-chip chipset designs. AMD's [email protected] supports only the CS5536 “companion chip” chipset, as far as we know. Meanwhile, other reduced chip-count x86-compatible chipsets such as Transmeta's Efficeon and Via's own CoreFusion line add northbridge functions such as graphics and memory interfaces directly to the processor itself.

For its part, Via calls the VX700 the “first chip of its kind,” and says it can generate “silicon real estate savings” of about 42 percent, compared with designs based on separate north- and south-bridges. Reduced power consumption is also touted.

Via VX700 block diagram

Additional touted features include:

  • UniChrome Pro II IGP core with 200MHz, 128-bit 2D/3D graphics
  • Chromotion Video Engine for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and WMV9 acceleration
  • “DuoView+” dual-display technology
  • Supports up to 4GB of DDR SDRAM, or low power, high-bandwidth DDR2 memory modules, including 32-bit DRAM modules for size-constrained designs
  • 533MHz FSB (front-side bus)
  • Vinyl HD audio controller
  • I/O includes 2 x SATA II devices, 2 x PATA 133/100/66 (IDE) devices, 6 x USB2.0 ports, and 4 x PCI slots
  • Multi-configuration LVDS/DVI transmitter for connection to LCD, and CRT/HDTV interfaces

Chinhwaun Wu of Via's processor platform product marketing division, stated, “[The VX700] breaks form factor barriers while maintaining comprehensive performance, a leading feature set, and ultra-low power operation for longer battery life.”

Rob Howe, president of Via customer DualCor, whose cPC UMPC uses the VX700, stated, “The VIA Ultra Mobile platform featuring the VIA VX700 has been critical in helping us achieve the cPC's small size and enhanced battery life.”

Additional details about the VX700, as well as pictures of DualCor's cPC, are available in our earlier coverage, back in March, when Via first announced the VX700.


The VX700 is shipping now in limited quantities, with volume quantities expected in Q3, Via says.

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