At this year’s Computex VIA was more stressed than they had ever been.  Just prior to the show SiS had sent out their round of 735 reference boards that completely trampled VIA’s KT266 solution.  SiS didn’t exhibit a single problem that the original KT266 shipments demonstrated, the 735 was priced much cheaper and it outperformed VIA’s solution.  The most dominant force the graphics market has ever seen, NVIDIA, was also barking up VIA’s tree with promises of a truly high-class chipset for the Athlon platform.  With SiS attacking immediately and the threat of a very attractive nForce later this year, VIA’s tight grasp on the Athlon market was loosening. 

To top things off, VIA was playing with the idea of showing off a very controversial product of theirs: the P4X266.  With their engineers working night and day on a potential P4X266 demo at Computex tensions were definitely high at VIA; to top things off, the balloon fiasco made this one of the most difficult times for VIA in recent history.

Fast forwarding to the present day, VIA has learned a few tricks from their chief competitor Intel.  While it seems like the market always favors the underdog, VIA has been doing to SiS what we have all been accusing Intel of doing to VIA.  From promising higher performing KT266 BIOSes to offering chipset rebates to manufacturers that wouldn’t promote the SiS 735 chipset, there are some very good reasons that you don’t see more than one SiS 735 based motherboard on the market. 

Luckily with VIA it’s not all about marketing pressure and today is the perfect example of that.  Instead of using political muscle to push the already abused motherboard manufacturers around, VIA has responded to recent threats with what may quite possibly be the highest performing Athlon chipset.

More than just a letter

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