VIA PT Series: VIA PCI Express for Intelby Wesley Fink on January 31, 2005 12:01 PM EST
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We first reported basic information about VIA chipsets for Intel Socket 775 about 7 months ago. At that point, road maps pointed to sampling in September of 2004. There have been changes along the way and numerous delays, but today, VIA finally introduces three new chipsets for Prescott Socket T. VIA has watched the very sluggish market for Intel Socket 775 motherboards, and they believe that they have found a better solution which people will want to buy. All the new chipsets feature PCI Express, but unique to VIA, all three chipsets can run at 1066 FSB and use either DDR or DDR2 memory. The PT880 PRO also supports PCI Express graphics or AGP graphics or both on the same motherboard.
VIA is convinced that the high current cost of adoption of the new Socket 775 technology is putting a damper on Socket 775 sales. DDR2 is still more expensive than DDR and VIA projects DDR will still outsell DDR2 until at least the 4th quarter of 2006 - some 2 years away. 915/925X motherboards are also more expensive than competing solutions - about $150 average for 915 and $200+ for 925X/XE. These cost factors, combined with poor availability of PCIe parts, has led to a very sluggish adoption of Socket 775. In addition, there is very little to distinguish 925X/XE performance from 915, except for the somewhat artificial barrier that only 925XE supports the 1066 FSB (currently only one very expensive CPU supports 1066 FSB). We would also add that the lack of any performance advantage for Socket 775 has also had a dramatic impact on sales.
To address these market forces, VIA has introduced three new chipsets for Socket 775. Flexibility is the key throughout the new chipset line, as VIA emphasizes that manufacturers can choose the architecture and features that customers want. VIA believes that this flexibility, compared to the rigid requirements of the Intel 915/925x chipsets, will give manufacturers and customers plenty of incentive to choose a VIA chipset solution for Socket 775.