Acer undercuts chipset rivals

Acer ships low-cost Pentium 4 chipset, enabling cheaper PC systems when it ships in volume this October

Intel's Pentium 4 processor got another chipset option this week with Acer Laboratories' (ALi) launch of its Aladdin-P4, which, at $31 (about £21) will undercut rivals such as Via Technologies.

However, the chipset is using a 0.25-micron manufacturing process, less advanced than those used by Via and Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) for their Pentium 4 chipsets. Via uses a 0.22-micron process and SiS manufactures at 0.18 microns.

Aladdin began sampling to motherboard manufacturers on 28 August and Acer hopes to have the product shipping in volume in October, according to reports, so that Aladdin-based motherboards can be on the market in time for Christmas. A chipset enables the processor to communicate with other PC components such as I/O and memory. New chipsets will reduce Pentium 4 system prices by allowing the chip to use standard SDRAM memory, instead of the Rambus Direct RAM memory to which it is presently restricted.

Acer's chipset supports PC-100 and PC-133 SDRAM platforms, as well as high-speed DDR memory. Intel is to launch its own SDRAM chipset, the 845, on 10 September but will not ship a DDR-compliant product until next year.

Aladdin supports a 400MHz system bus and will support up to 3GB of main memory.

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