VIA announces Pentium 4 'clone'

The Taiwan chipset giant is not shying away from further confrontations with Intel in its plans for a 2GHz chip

Taiwan's VIA Technologies is planning a 2GHz processor that it calls a "clone" of Intel's Pentium 4 processor, the company told journalists at the Microprocessor Forum on Monday.

The move is a radical shift for the chip maker, which has traditionally concentrated on lower-end processors for inexpensive PCs. The CZA, however, will be aimed at higher-end machines, with features like the system bus based on the Pentium 4, VIA said. The chip is based on 0.10-micron technology and is due in 2003 or 2004.

C.J. Holthaus, an engineer at VIA-owned Centaur Technology, told reporters the chip is a "Pentium 4 clone". Like Pentium 4 it will use a deep 18-stage pipeline architecture, allowing it to scale to very high speeds, and other key technologies will also mimic the Pentium 4, Holthaus said.

The move could pose difficulties for VIA, which is already in the midst of legal battles with Intel over its manufacture of Pentium 4 chipsets. In several lawsuits in various countries, Intel charges that VIA violates its Pentium 4 patents.

On Monday VIA also announced the C5X and C5XL processors, running at 1.1GHz to 1.5GHz, which will ship in the first half of next year. Presently VIA's fastest processor is the C5C or C4M, which runs at 866MHz.

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