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Sharky Extreme : Industry Interviews February 26, 2012
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Industry Interviews


SharkyExtreme.com: Interview with VIA's Richard Brown

By Vangie Beal :  April 17, 2003

SharkyExtreme.com: Interview with Richard Brown, VIA Technologies' Director of International Marketing.

Here is our latest in a series of interviews with industry company executives, PR persons and general know-it-alls. The unique feature of this series is that you, our readers, are the ones asking the questions. In the spotlight today is Richard Brown, VIA Technologies' Director of International Marketing, who will be answering your questions - which mainly focus on VIA motherboards, the KT400A, Mini-ITX, and much more!

In VIA's own words, here is who they are and what they do:

"VIA Technologies, Inc. is a leading innovator and developer of PC core logic chipsets, microprocessors, and multimedia and communications chips. VIA delivers value to the PC industry by designing, marketing, and selling high-performance discrete and integrated core logic chipsets for the full range of PC platforms, as well as power efficient VIA C3 processors."

richardginn asks: Can you provide any specific details on any new features that you plan on adding to VIA motherboards this year?

Richard Brown: We plan to launch a number of new VIA EPIA Mini-ITX motherboards targeted at different segments of the market. These include the VIA EPIA M2, which features a PC Card and CF Card slot for wireless client applications, and the VIA EPIA CL, which features dual LAN connectors and support for up to four serial ports. We are also looking at introducing a board featuring our Envy24PT audio chip with 7.1 surround sound support.

AverageJoe Asks: Has VIA ever looked at increasing the capabilities of handling full-screen fast-motion DivX playback through upgrading the onboard video on the EPIA line?

Richard Brown: Our new VIA EPIA M Series based on the CLE266 North Bridge features the new UniChrome graphics core with an integrated hardware MPEG2 decoder, and delivers significantly better DivX performance than the first generation EPIA boards based on the PLE133T chipset. We intend to further improve the board's DivX capabilities with the introduction of our new Nehemiah processor core as well as by integrating support for MPEG4 in our next generation CME400 North Bridge.

AverageJoe Also Asks: Does VIA have any plans to include the option to buy an EPIA motherboard with 1 AGP slot as opposed to the current 1 PCI slot offered?

Richard Brown: While we have definitely analyzed this option, we believe that the PCI slot offers a lot more configuration options than an AGP slot.

qmul Asks: Will VIA eventually seek a Pentium 4 license from Intel for future boards?

Richard Brown: As I'm sure you've heard by now, we have entered into a ten year cross licensing agreement with Intel, under which we have been granted a four year license to design and sell chipsets that are compatible with the Intel microprocessor bus.

qmul Also Asks: Has VIA considered a dual-DDR board either the Pentium 4 or Athlon XP, to provide consumers with alternatives to the "Granite Bay" chipset or nForce2?

Richard Brown: The Pentium 4 remains a very bandwidth hungry processor; with increases in memory bandwidth resulting in significantly enhanced performance. The move to the 800MHz Front Side Bus increases the pressure to find more bandwidth with the Front Side Bus maxing out at 6.4GB/s of capacity. To meet this challenge and reestablish VIA as the performance leader on the Pentium 4 platform, we are in the advanced stages of developing the Dual Channel DDR and QBM enabled PT800D Chipset. This will enable a whole host of different configurations using standard DDR266/333/400 DIMM modules in single or dual channel mode or QBM533 (single channel 4.2GB/s or dual channel 8.4GB/s bandwidth) modules. Dual Channel QBM533 should give VIA a performance advantage over our competitors, while remaining cost competitive as QBM533 modules uses standard DDR266 devices.

In terms of the AMD Athlon XP platform, the situation is different. Investing in a Dual Channel architecture here yields a very poor return in terms of increased performance as the processor Front Side Bus even at 400MHz has a limited capacity of only 3.2GB/s which can be filled by a single channel DDR400 Chipset. In the recently launched KT400A we implemented FastStream64 technology to improve the efficiency of the memory throughput and get as close to the theoretical maximum bandwidth as we could. We have been very pleased with the results with independent testing showing that the KT400A is faster than the dual channel NVIDIA nforce2 in benchmarks like 3DMark 2001SE. This basically proves our thesis that the Athlon XP is not bandwidth limited and memory controller efficiency is the key to enhanced performance.

  • Page 1

    Interview with VIA's Richard Brown: Part 1

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    Interview with VIA's Richard Brown: Part 2