Via readies integrated P4 graphics chip sets

Via Technologies plans to launch an integrated graphics chipset, designed for Intel's Pentium 4 processor, in November, a Via official said Wednesday.

The P4M266 integrates S3 Graphics Inc.'s Savage 4 graphics core with Via's upcoming P4X266 chipset, which is compatible with DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory), said Ted Lee, Via's vice president of sales and marketing, speaking at the Cebit Asia Forum.

The P4M266 chipset will be launched in November, Lee said.

A follow-on integrated graphics chipset based on a new graphics core, code-named Zoetrope, is scheduled to ship before the middle of next year and will offer substantially better graphics performance, Lee said. The Zoetrope core, which is expected to pass the validation process during this quarter, will offer graphics performance that is up to three times better than the P4M266, he said.

The P4M266 is an interim step leading to the launch of the Zoetrope-based chip set next year, Lee said, explaining that the P4M266 has given Via experience in integrating a graphics core with the P4X266.

The launch of the P4M266 and its Zoetrope-based successor comes as a challenge to graphics chip vendor Nvidia Inc., which unveiled its own nForce integrated graphics chip set for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Athlon and Duron processors in June. The nForce is based on AMD's HyperTransport bus and incorporates the GeForce2 graphics core.

The P4X266 is expected to start shipping soon, although Lee would not be drawn on a specific date for the launch, saying only that the chipset was in the hands of major customers and would begin shipping before the Via Technology Forum gets underway in Taipei in September.

The Cebit Asia Forum is being held concurrently with the Cebit Asia exhibition, which runs through Saturday, August 11.

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