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Via northbridge supports Pentium M, C7-M

Aug 19, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 13 views

Via is shipping a northbridge that supports both Intel's mobile chips and its own new “Pentium M killer” mobile chip. The Via VN800 northbridge supports Pentium Ms, as well as Via's C7-M, in order to give laptop manufacturers “maximum design flexibility,” the company says. The VN800 features “high-definition audio/visual” features.

Via announced its C7-M in May, saying the low-power, small-footprint, 1.5GHz x86-compatible part would start production in Q2, on IBM's 90nm SOI (silicon-on-insulator) process technology in East Fishkill, NY. The chip outperforms Intel's Pentium M on benchmarks normalized to the C7-M's 1.5GHz clock speed, Via claims.

The VN800 attaches to the C7-M through Via's new 800MHz “V4” bus interface. Via calls the bus “highly efficient,” and says it offers competitive write bandwidth and linear ordering modes. The VN800 attaches to southbridges such as Via's VT8237A through a 533 Mbps “Ultra V-Link” interface. It additionally supports a range of peripheral chips from Via and others, the company says.

The VN800 supports both Pentium Ms and C7-Ms

The VN800 supports up to 4GB of DDR2 533/400MHz memory modules, and FSB (front-side bus) speeds up to 800MHz. It offers “advanced ACPI support,” Via says. When paired with the C7-M, it supports Via's PowerSaver voltage-scaling technology.

The VN800 has an external 8X AGP interface, enabling it to be used in laptop designs with high-end external video chipsets, Via says. The northbridge also has a built-in UniChrome Pro IGP (integrated graphics processor) from Via's graphics chip subsidiary, S3. The IGP borrows system memory, and offers 2D/3D acceleration through dual 128-bit graphics pipelines.

The VN800 also integrates a “Chromotion CE Video Display Engine,” aimed at improving digital media playback. The feature is said to accelerate MPEG-2 decoding, while supporting adaptive de-interlacing, video de-blocking, and other advanced rendering techniques.

Via's VP of corporate marketing, Richard Brown, said, “The launch of the VIA VN800 with its outstanding video playback and advanced power saving technologies will further boost VIA's momentum in the mobile marketplace.”

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