Via plans 1.2GHz chip as strong sales boost confidence

Chipset maker Via bucks the trend with strong results, and plans a 1.2GHz x86 processor for launch later this year

Computer chipset and processor maker Via Technologies said on Tuesday its revenues were $99m (about £68m) for April, up 32.7 percent from the same period a year ago. The figures come as other semiconductor makers are reporting falling sales because of the slowing economies around the world.

Via, primarily a manufacturer of chipsets for AMD's popular lines of processors, said sales from January to April amounted to $418m (£290m), up 68.6 percent from the year before. Chips account for about five percent of Via's revenues.

Earlier this week, Via took the wraps off a new roadmap for its processors, revealing plans to launch an x86-compatible chip running at 1.2GHz by the end of 2001. Shipments of the chip are to begin late this year or early next year.

Via said it will continue to aim its chips at the low end of the market, particularly in developing countries like China, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to the company. Via's current top-of-the-line chip, the Samuel 2, runs at 733MHz.

By the third quarter of this year it plans to release a more advanced chip, code named Ezra, based on the more advanced 0.13-micron geometry.

Meanwhile, worldwide chip sales fell seven percent due to large inventories on the part of chip buyers, according to figures released by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) on Tuesday.

Sales were $14.4bn (£10bn) in March, compared to $15.48bn (£11bn) in February. Sales were even down 4.5 percent from March 2000, when they totalled $15.1bn. An upturn in demand is not expected until the fourth quarter, according to the SIA.

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