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VIA pitches Digital Brilliance at VTF2004


Not just shiny, but smart
— 12:00 AM on June 15, 2004

THE VIA TECHNOLOGY FORUM is VIA's annual pow-wow for its customers, partners, and industry luminaries. VTF2004, held on Thursday during the week of Computex, outlined some new directions for VIA, its customers, and PC hardware in general. The theme of this year's VTF was "Digital Brilliance," an almost-too-clever play on words evoking both shiny gadgets and "smart" devices.

Wenchi Chen projects Digital Brilliance


VIA President and CEO Wenchi Chen opened the day with his keynote devoted to this theme, outlining the ways computing and personal electronics are merging. As a supplier of nearly every piece of technology that goes into a traditional PC system, VIA's vision for the long-touted convergence between PCs and consumer electronics is a little different from the standard view. The PC isn't a dinosaur or a second-class citizen in this vision. Instead, Chen predicted PC technologies would migrate into the heart of a whole range of consumer devices, from televisions to personal video recorders to handheld devices. x86, Chen noted, handles all kinds of video and audio formats, produces high-quality output, and offers unmatched expandability. Of course, VIA is well positioned to benefit from this vision of convergence, because its own processors and mini/nano-ITX solutions offer low-power capability, encryption acceleration, and very low costs.


While on stage, Chen had a note delivered to him by a robot created
by a group of university students using VIA technology

At the high end of the convergence spectrum, Chen said VIA's new PC core logic chipsets should enable what he called "high-definition computing platforms," echoing a common chord of convergence optimists at PC hardware companies of late. He cited many of the new features coming to the PC platform as a part of this movement, including DDR2 memory, PCI Express, 1GHz HyperTransport, 24-bit/192KHz audio, 1080p resolutions, DirectX 9, Gigabit Ethernet, and 802.11g wireless networking. (The kitchen sink was notably absent.)

Chen dialed back the convergence rhetoric a bit and ears perked up as he talked about the transition to PCI Express. He noted that PCI Express is probably the first time we've seen a "hard switch" from one graphics standard to another, with few provisions for coexistence of dual standards. To address its customers concerns, he confirmed, VIA will be supporting both PCI Express and AGP on the KT890 and K8T890 chipsets. As far as we know, only VIA will offer this capability in its next-gen chipsets.