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Via chip targets HD netbooks

Mar 12, 2009 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Via has announced a new core-logic chip promising 1080p video playback from a tiny, power-sipping package. Aimed at netbooks and other mobile devices, the “VX855” combines northbridge and southbridge functionality, uses just 2.3 Watts, and measures only 27 x 27mm, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Via's VX855)

Via says its VX855 will bring true 1080p HD video playback to netbooks and other compact, power-efficient devices. The chip combines northbridge and southbridge functionality, and is designed to match up with the company's x86 processors, the Eden, C7, and Nano.

Compared to Via's previous companion chips, the VX855 boasts smaller size and reduced power consumption. Last year, the chipmaker released the VX800 and VX800U, companion chips targeting the same processors. The VX800 is a 33 x 33mm chip with a five Watt TDP, while the VX800U is a 31 x 31mm chip with a 3.5 Watt TDP. Meanwhile, the new VX855 measures only 27 x 27mm and uses just 2.3 Watts, according to Via.


A block diagram of Via's VX855
(Click to enlarge)

Apparently more than a mere die-shrink, the VX855 (see block diagram, above) also includes enhanced capabilities compared to the VX800 or VX800U. Crucially, the device's integrated graphics processor is claimed to provide “smooth playback of high bitrate 1080p HD video.” Via claims full support for Microsoft's VMR (video mixing renderer) and DirectX 9.0 technologies, plus hardware acceleration for H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV9, and DivX video formats.

Other multimedia-centric functionality includes a video capture port, a frame buffer size of up to 512MB, and the ability to deliver up to eight audio channels with a 192KHz sampling rate. The VX855 also includes a DDR2 memory controller, a 400/800MHz frontside bus interface, a built-in LVDS transmitter, and I/O that includes six USB host ports and one USB device port, Via says.

Richard Brown, VP of marketing for Via, said, “For the first time, system developers have an ultra low power media system processor that delivers high bit-rate HD video to small form factor and mobile devices. The Via VX855 opens up exciting opportunities for several PC segments, particularly the mini-notebook category that will now be able to offer true 1080p HD video playback.”

In other recent Via news, the company is preparing to release its first ARM9-based system-on-chip (SoC) by way of its subsidiary WonderMedia. Using a new “Prizm” architecture, an early version of the WM8510 SoC called the VT8500 is being made available in a new MicroClient TC thin client from NorhTec.

Availability

According to Via, the VX855 supports Linux, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows CE. Pricing and availability of the new chip was not announced, however.

More information about the VX855 may be found on the Via website, here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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