Via drops Intel front side bus from CPUs

Via plans to exclusively use a self-developed front side bus on its CPUs from the end of March, 2006, opting not to sign a new agreement with Intel.

Via Technologies has notified customers for its central processing units (CPUs) that by the end of March, it will begin selling only CPUs with a self designed front side bus, a part vital to transfer data to and from the CPU to other components inside a computer. The company will not seek to extend an agreement with Intel to use an Intel compatible front side bus.

It's a transition Via has been in the process of making ever since last May when it launched its latest CPU series, the C7. At the time, the company launched its own front side bus, the V4-Bus, which runs at clock speeds of up to 800MHz, to replace an older front side bus used under license from Intel that ran at a maximum speed of 133MHz. A speedier front side bus allows computer applications to run faster.

"We need to change to a new front side bus architecture mainly because we need higher performance," said Richard Brown, an associate vice president at Via.

Via wanted to notify customers of the change so they could plan accordingly, he said.

"Obviously we needed to engage our customers to let them know about the transition," he said.

The change was also necessitated by the looming end to an agreement signed with Intel that allowed Via to use Intel compatible front side buses on its CPUs through the end of March, 2006.

Via does not intend to seek an extension to the agreement, said Brown.

Intel declined to comment.

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Dan Nystedt

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