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Via chips in on AMD plan

Via Technologies announces a chipset that uses Advanced Micro Devices' new Athlon 64 processor, becoming the latest company to back the controversial chip.

TAIPEI, Taiwan--Via Technologies announced a chipset on Tuesday to allow computer makers to use Advanced Micro Devices' controversial new Athlon 64 processor.

described three models in the new K8 chipset series at the Computex trade show here: the K8T800 for high-end desktop computers, the K8M800 for midrange desktops and the K8N800 for mobile computers. The latter two chipsets integrate a graphics engine.

AMD launched its Athlon 64 chip Tuesday, a bold attempt to use 64-bit extensions to lead the market away from Intel's 32-bit Pentium design. Chipsets, which join computers' main processors to subsystems such as memory and storage, are crucial components needed to make a processor useful.

Via isn't alone in trying to capitalize on AMD's new chip. Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS), like Via, which is based in Taiwan, announced its Athlon 64 chipset on Monday, while Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia announced its own chipset on Tuesday.

Also like Nvidia and SiS, Via is integrating graphics processing features with the chipset. The company's UniChrome 2 graphics will be available on the K8M800 and K8N800 chipsets, Via said. All the K8 chipsets include support for Serial ATA storage systems, audio, Ethernet running at 1 gigabit per second, and Universal Serial Bus 2.0, as well as RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) technology to group drives for data protection or higher performance.

The higher-end K8T800 enables dual-processor configurations for workstations and lower-end servers, Via said.

Major motherboard makers are using Via's K8T800 chipset, including ABIT, Albatron, ASUS, Chaintech, FIC, Giga-Byte Technologies and Micro-Star International, Via said. Computer makers using the chipset include ABS Computer Technologies, Elite PC, Microtel, Monarch Computer Systems and Polywell Computers.