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VIA to get into cheap PCs with new chips

Has parts to deliver $200 machines

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VIA Technologies is to launch several chips next year aimed at the cheap PC market.

"VIA has a bag of parts that can deliver a PC for $200 to $500, and that is going to open computing to the rest of the world," Glenn Henry, one of the Taiwan-based vendor's top designers, said at this week's Microprocessor Forum in California, CNET reported.

"It's a 150 million-unit marketplace. More importantly, it is a worldwide marketplace," he added.

Apparently, these machines will be aimed at developing countries - where users' first priority isn't a hi-powered PC with loads of features, but simply an affordable model. This will let Via compete with the likes of Intel and AMD - who have the edge in the faster speed chip markets.

"Everyone says, 'Ooh, look at you. You've got a 600-MHz chip,'" said Henry. "But I've got a processor that I can sell for sub-$50 and make a profit on...The only application that I do that needs more megahertz is digital video editing."

VIA, which is expected to report sales of $1 billion this year, will also release a new version of the Cyrix III at 600 MHz to 733 MHz this year. In 2001 it will bring out a 867-MHz, and a chip - code-named Matthew - with an integrated graphics processor. ®

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