Via launches faster Pentium 4 chipset

New chipset will boost DDR memory access for Pentium 4 systems, making for faster overall performance
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Via Technologies announced a faster version of its chipset for Intel Pentium 4 processors on Tuesday, in the face of a continuing dispute with Intel over the product's legality.

The chipset is an upgrade to Via's Apollo P4X266, called the P4X266A. It boosts access speeds for memory and can be combined with other, faster components such as Via's VT8233A SouthBridge, which supports the Ultra ATA/133 standard.

Via has exchanged lawsuits with Intel in several countries, centring on whether Via is legally allowed to make a Pentium 4 chipset. Taiwan-based Via is the second-largest chipset maker after Intel, and the two have had a love-hate relationship for several years, alternately suing each other and supporting the market for one another's products.

Earlier this week Via representatives said the company had secured retail distribution for unbranded motherboards using the P4 chipset.

The P4X266 series supports double data rate (DDR) DRAM memory, which is faster than standard SDRAM but not as expensive as high-end Rambus RDRAM. Intel's chipsets support only SDRAM and RDRAM.

"The launch of this product further reinforces Via's leadership position in developing leading edge chipset solutions that fully harness the unrivaled performance and stability of DDR266 SDRAM," said Richard Brown, Via's director of marketing, in a statement.

The chipset uses a DDR memory controller from Performance Driven Design. It has a 400MHz front-side bus and supports both the 478 and 423-pin versions of the P4. It is compatible with all existing motherboards based on the earlier P4X266 and the Via ProSavage DDR P4M266, an integrated chipset.

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