Chip and cheerful
It's sometimes easy to forget Taiwanese chipmaker VIA, which more often than not finds itself overshadowed by giants like Intel and AMD. But VIA has been chipping away at new CPUs and chipsets. The latest chipset is a low-power design that's aimed at small-form-factor boxes.
The VN1000, which targets low-end desktops and all-in-one Windows 7 machines, is, VIA reckons, the most power-efficient DirectX 10.1 chipset available in the world, with support for Blu-ray playback and DDR3 memory to boot.
VIA says the chipset is made to accompany the firm's Nano 3000-series processors, and that it uses just 12 watts across both north and south bridges.
VIA's Chrome 520 IGP is the key to providing the DirectX 10.1 goodness, supposedly making the graphics look marginally better than on competing products of similar performance and price.
Boasting DDR3 RAM at frequencies of up to 1,066MHz and allowing for up to 16GB of RAM, VIA also says that users will get up to four SATA II ports, SD/MMS/MMC card-reader support and 12 USB 2.0 ports thrown into the mix.
If that isn't enough to sway you, the firm goes on to say that the VN1000 digital media chipset comes complete with ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor so punters can get some remarkably smooth Blu-ray playback and use their hardware acceleration for H.264, WM9 and VC1 codecs over DisplayPort and HDMI.
Which is not bad, of course, but it's also not a game-changer as VIA is strictly playing for small chips in the sub $50 end of the market.
Of course, some of AMD's lower end offerings also have DirectX 10.1 support, so VIA could potentially shake things up a wee bit there, especially if users are looking for a cheap, power-efficient, all-in-one bundle.