Via bridges new and old technology for Intel Pentium chipsets
Via has announced its PT Series of chipsets for the Intel Pentium platform, supporting PCI Express connectivity as well as faster DDR2 memory.
The new chipsets comprise the VIA PT880 Pro and PT894, which are targeted at the mainstream performance market, and the PT894 Pro (pictured), which is aimed at workstation users. They all support Front Side Bus speeds of 1066, 800 or 533MHz.
Via implemented similar support for the AMD 64 platform back in September 2004 – PCI Express trained on AMD 64 .
The new PT880 Pro is described by VIA as a good ‘stepping stone’ during transition to PCI Express and DDR2. Through the VIA Universal Graphics Interface (UGI), system integrators will be able to use PCI Express and AGP Graphics cards (AGP 3.0, AGP8X) on the same motherboard, which VIA claims as a first and an encouragement for flexibly switching to newer technology.
The PT894 is positioned as a value alternative to the Intel 915 chipset, and enables PCI Express along with support for 1066MHz FSBs and DDR2. Again, VIA believes this will help speed the adoption of PCI Express graphics cards and peripherals, as well as DDR2 memory. Graphics support comprises a Primary PCI Express x16 connection.
Finally, at the power end of the range, the VIA PT894 Pro chipset is optimized for the complete range of Intel Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading technology. It also uses StepUp memory technology to provide support for both DDR and DDR2 memory on the same motherboard. This, points out VIA, allows motherboard makers the flexibility of implementing either standard, depending on market demands at any given time. Graphics support comprises a Primary PCI Express x16 connection and a secondary PCI Express x4 connection.
Multi-display support (for the Pro versions) comes courtesy of VIA DualGFX Express technology, which enables the connection of up to four monitors through dual graphics cards. Via claims it is the only dual graphics card interface to offer twenty PCI Express lanes of graphics bandwidth. Note that the VIA PT894 Pro chipset would connect to dual PCI Express graphics cards, and the VIA PT880 Pro chipset would connect to a PCI Express and AGP graphics card simultaneously.
As well as DDR memory, at speeds of up to 400MHz, there is support for DDR2 memory at up to 667MHz.
‘Based on feedback from our customers, there is strong demand for a chipset architecture that provides the bridge between new technologies such as PCI Express, DDR2 and LGA775 processors, and established technologies like DDR and AGP graphics,’ said Richard Brown, VIA’s associate VP of Marketing. ‘While other PCI Express chipset solutions are not able to offer this, largely ignoring the needs of many mainstream users, the new VIA PT Series chipsets offer a uniquely flexible platform that ensures smooth transition and, ultimately, faster adoption of PCI Express and DDR2 technologies.’
More information on the VIA PT Series can be found at www.via.com.tw/en/products/chipsets/p4-series