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VIA to stop making Intel chipsets?

VIA to stop making Intel chipsets?

VIA will concentrate on making chipsets for products like it's UMPCs.

VIA's traditional markets are shrinking faster than a puddle in the desert, as it stands in the middle of a bus licence dispute with Intel over being allowed to make chipsets for the latest Intel processors.

Instead of risking getting sued, it has chosen to knock the business on the head and concentrate on making chipsets for its own C7 processors.

The C7s still use Intel technology though, as the chip connects to the CX700 northbridge (amongst others) with a standard P4 "quad pumped" 100MHz front side bus. How things will turn out after April next year when the contract officially runs out will be interesting to see though, but at this year's Computex tradeshow, VIA was firmly keeping mum when asked about it.

As it is yet to secure a 1333MHz front side bus licence from Intel and, with first half year sales dropping a massive 35 percent year on year, there is very little reason for VIA to try and clutch the ever shredding threads of this business unit.

Why would it, you ask? Because the mainstream market is massive, and with OEMs and ODMs looking for cheap yet capable chipsets to fill hundreds of thousands of PCs it's companies like VIA, SiS and Intel that dominate the market. However, with Intel aggressively pricing the other companies out the market, there is little space left for the small fish unable to make similar kinds of cutbacks and still invest enough into R&D for future products.

What will this do to the company that took on Goliath and successfully introduced a cheaper SDRAM chipset to the Intel Pentium 4 that was originally designed for more expensive RDRAM? It will concentrate on its own products geared towards home multimedia, commercial embedded clients, industrial PCs, point of sale terminals, ultra-mobile devices, set-top boxes, LCD TVs and car electronics markets.

At this end of the spectrum, it's unlikely we'll hear much from the company in the enthusiast's market in the future, unless it launches a larger range of home theatre products or the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) platform takes off massively. Unfortunately for VIA though, the UMPC market is also something that Intel is going after too. Intel is soon to introduce Silverthorne and Menmo, but VIA does currently have an advantage thanks to its strong position in the market and an already comprehensive amount of experience under its belt.

Rough times ahead still or a whole new break for the Taiwanese team renowned for making great chipsets like the Apollo KT133a, KT266a and P4X266? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

15 Comments

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Mankz 6th July 2007, 19:55 Quote
VIA chipsets allways seemed to be one of the better bets on low-end boards, and ASRock seemed to be able to do so much for them, and make them into upgraders dream boards...

Thats the world of bussinss I suppose.
DXR_13KE 6th July 2007, 20:41 Quote
how i hate my via chipset motherboard. I hope they have luck with their UMPC, it looks nice, i just wish it had a touch screen and was cheaper.
Amon 6th July 2007, 20:44 Quote
VIA did very well for the K8 generation while the nForce chipsets were still priced high.
Bluephoenix 6th July 2007, 20:53 Quote
well, I for one love my OQO model 2.

and I currently have plans to cluster a few C7s in this fashion: http://www.mini-itx.com/2007/02/26/the-octimod-mini-itx-cluster

first I have to get on better terms with gentoo....
Bindibadgi 6th July 2007, 21:30 Quote
Why? If a 30W mini-itx is some 10x slower than a dual core X6800 which runs at 180W for the whole system, the Intel is still greener.
OleJ 6th July 2007, 21:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Why? If a 30W mini-itx is some 10x slower than a dual core X6800 which runs at 180W for the whole system, the Intel is still greener.
Ha ha. Exactly what I've been thinking every time I've seen those mini-itx clusters :) Plus the dual core setup would cost you less :D

The only reason I can think of for building such a cluster is to learn about cluster computing.
pendragon 6th July 2007, 22:14 Quote
it's too bad they're out of the market for chipsets.. I was really hoping they'd come through with a "Core2" chipset sometime in the future :(
TheVoice 7th July 2007, 16:40 Quote
My previous Athlon64 motherboard (Asus A8V) was VIA based. It was a horrible thing, which conflicted with my 6600GT all the time, for some reason.
completemadness 7th July 2007, 22:08 Quote
nooooo - dont leave us with only SiS *sobs*
Carbon_Arc 8th July 2007, 18:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVoice
My previous Athlon64 motherboard (Asus A8V) was VIA based. It was a horrible thing, which conflicted with my 6600GT all the time, for some reason.

Yeah, i had the same thing. I had always gone for VIA boards before, but when i bought the A8V it conflicted with my Soundblaster (it would crackle continually on first boot, and only rebooting would fix it), and hooking my ipod up to a USB2 socket would cause the machine to reboot.

After about a month i swapped it out for the A8N-E Nforce4 board, everything is running sweet now. I wouldn't go back to a VIA chipset after that experience.
kempez 9th July 2007, 00:15 Quote
VIA make some very solid and stable chipsets so it's a damn shame to see them stop making them. As said above, who wants a SiS? :(

OK so you couldn't OC on them for love nor money, but they were damn solid

I just hope they continue to make their excellent CPU's
Silver Shamrock 9th July 2007, 02:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz.
VIA chipsets allways seemed to be one of the better bets on low-end boards, and ASRock seemed to be able to do so much for them, and make them into upgraders dream boards...

Thats the world of bussinss I suppose.

Yep the ASRock 775 VIA boards were fantastic for upgraders, i had one and did the same. Great value too.

I read a while ago in micromart mag that the main reason ASRock had announced that it's great selling 4CoreDual-VSTA would no longer be manufactured so shortly after launch was because they had run out of the VIA PT880 Ultra northbridge chips. VIA was reluctant to manufacture any more so ASRock had no choice. Seems to tie in with the latest news. Shame really.
Kipman725 9th July 2007, 08:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
nooooo - dont leave us with only SiS *sobs*

ah yes but who else could you buy a whole uptodate motherboard for £12 from :O (admitidly I did spend weeks fixing the configuration and driver problems)
completemadness 9th July 2007, 17:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipman725
ah yes but who else could you buy a whole uptodate motherboard for £12 from :O (admittedly I did spend weeks fixing the configuration and driver problems)
lol - they may work (just) on windows, but beyond that they are hell

i have a sis motherboard, not only would the on board graphics not drive 1280x1024 (no matter how much ram i allocated in the bios) but the drivers were appalling, i tried using ubuntu on the machine at one point and ran into even more problems
I really really hate sis, they just make crap, and their driver support is rubbish (just in windows, not even including the lack of linux support)
TomH 9th July 2007, 18:26 Quote
I don't get it. Why limit yourself to a niche market when AMD are clearly in need of a killer chipset? I can hardly imagine AMD worrying about a third party encroaching on their oh-so-amazing chipset business.

At least not for the moment - maybe Via can see it coming from AMD too.

Here's some thought: Intel make chipsets, CPUs and graphics cards. They have teams for each. AMD through the acquisition of ATI, have all three too.

Nvidia do chipsets and GPUs. What's to stop them buying Via, assimilating the chipset business (and keeping the Via name/product range for the continuation of the SFF market) and using the newly-acquired x86 license to begin making some insane CPUs? If Via's value were to drop too much, the vultures will begin to circle.
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