VIA's chipset wars

— 8:10 AM on August 21, 2001

It is no secret that licensing issues threaten to leave VIA's ambitions for the P4X266 stillborn, but support may be picking up. Rand spotted this story claiming that three of the top ten PC brands are urging Taiwan's first-tier motherboard makers to manufacture boards based on the P4X266. We'll have to keep an eye on how this develops.

Meanwhile, VIA is not content to simply sit on the sidelines. The SiS735 and SiS645 chipsets will give some serious competition to VIA's KT266 and P4X266 chipsets, respectively. As such, 'Darth' VIA is not above price machinations.

To attract motherboard makers to develop products supporting its KT266CE chipset, VIA has offered to cover board manufacturers for any price difference if the chipset price drops in the future. It also extended the deadline for this deal from the end of September to year-end. However, the deal is valid only if companies do not develop [SiS]735-based boards at the same time.
Let's not forget that SiS has an official P4 license, and Intel would prefer to see the SiS645 succeed instead of the P4X266. In fact, SiS may find itself caught in the middle of the chipset wars.
Some motherboard makers think that SiS is likely to use the 735 line as a weapon to increase its market share while its Pentium 4-supporting, DDR SDRAM-based SiS645 chipset will be the company’s profit generator. With the appeal of their low prices, SiS’s products are very likely to become a serious threat to VIA’s new KT266CE chipsets.
It doesn't end there. PROM is reporting that SiS isn't looking to use the SiS735 to engage in a serious competition with VIA's KT266, which is the reason why we haven't seen too many SiS735 motherboards, so far. Hopefully, all this will translate to lower prices for the consumer, as VIA, Intel, and SiS continue to work out their differences.
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