IT’S BEEN JUST over three months since VIA announced a new chipset and today we’re looking at yet another new chipset from the company, although this time it’s for mobile devices rather than desktops. It’s a shame that the new VX900 chipset didn’t get the full feature set of the VN1000, but it’s not all bad news, as VIA finally has a mobile solution that should kick the Atom’s ass.
VIA’s Nano processors have proven to be quite good both in terms of performance and power usage, but VIA has sorely lacked a chipset to match the CPUs. The VN1000 was a step in the right direction, but it was too power hungry for the mobile market. The VX900 inherits many of its features from the VN1000, all packaged into a single chip solution. The headline feature is of course 1080p video playback, although the older VX855 could also muster this, but as the VX900 adds support for both HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity, it’s somewhat more useful now.
The 3D graphics engine hasn’t changed much, as unlike the VN1000, the VX900 has to make do with DX9 graphics. In all fairness to VIA though, it’s not as if Intel offers anything better on its Atom platform. This is also the first mobile chipset from VIA to add support for DDR3 memory, although VIA retains support for DDR2 as well. This is also the first single chip mobile chipset from VIA with native SATA support, however it’s limited to two devices.
Interestingly the VX900 also offers a total of 11 PCI Express lanes configured as a single x8 and three x1 slots. This means that the VX900 chipset offers enough bandwidth to support an external graphics card for higher-end devices similar to the Nvidia ION powered netbooks running dual core desktop Atom processors. The VX900 also offers support for two PCI devices, eight USB 2.0 ports as well as a USB client port, a memory card reader interface, HD audio with the help of one of VIA’s HD audio codec’s, Gigabit Ethernet and unusually a video capture port with support for 1080p video input.
VIA has finally come up with a competitive solution against Intel’s Atom platform, although a lot later than what many had hoped for. Still, Intel’s updated Atom platform hasn’t really impressed in terms of feature upgrades and if VIA still has good relationships with Samsung and Lenovo we might be seeing some very interesting netbooks and ultra portable notebooks based on VIA’s new chipset and the 3000-series of VIA Nano processors.S|A
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