VIA, ULI launch new chipsets

— 12:59 PM on December 8, 2005

Both VIA and ULI have announced major new core-logic chipsets today. VIA's new product is the CN700, and it's the company's first chipset to rely on VIA's new proprietary V4 bus system instead of an Intel design. The CN700 supports both 533MHz and 400MHz FSBs and provides a single channel of either DDR or DDR2 memory. Supported speed grades are 533 and 400MHz for DDR2 and 266, 333, 400MHz for DDR.

The CN700 retains the S3 Savage-based UniChrome Pro graphics core and includes the VT8237A south bridge. It would've been nice to see the CN700 paired with VIA's VT8251, but apparently that part still isn't ready for wide release. Still, the CN700 is an important product for VIA, since it both incorporates their next-generation C7 CPU and their first internally-developed bus architecture. Hopefully the stated shipping date of Q1 2006 will become a reality.

As for ULI, today marked the unveiling of its AMD-oriented M1697 single-chip solution. The M1697 supports SATA 3Gbps transfer rates and NCQ, can accommodate dual PCI-E x8 graphics configurations, and adds support for an interface ULI refers to as eSATA II. eSATA is an external SATA interface that runs at five times USB speed—an interesting capability. ULI's new chipset also supports Azalia 7.1 HD Audio, and ULi has shown off boards from Asrock, Epox, Jetway, and Abit. ULI doesn't seem likely to topple NVIDIA's dominance of the AMD-oriented chipset market any time soon, but it'd be nice if their new M1697 could provide a little more competition.

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