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VIA Pentium 4 chipset will undercut Intel's

DDR chipset for 20% less than RDRAM part

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VIA has pledged to beat Intel on price when it ships its Pentium 4-based DDR SDRAM chipset.

VIA said yesterday it will price the P4X266 at no more than $35. According to Taiwan's Economic Times newspaper, that's between ten per cent and 20 per cent below Intel's own P4 chipsets, the RDRAM-based 850 and the single data rate 845 (aka Brookdale).

The paper puts the 850 at $43 and the 845 at $40. It also notes that Taiwanese industry sources claim VIA's alternative performs "almost" as well as the Intel parts.

VIA can make the claim, says the paper, because it requires only a four-layer motherboard, compared to the six-layer mobo Intel's 845 necessitates.

Intel says the 845 requires only four layers, but even so, it may still prove more expensive than VIA's product.

VIA has been courting mobo makers to win their support for the P4X266, even though the part lacks Intel's official sanction.

Intel, of course, claims that VIA has no right to ship the part because it hasn't licensed the chip giant's the relevant parts of Pentium 4 technology. VIA, on the other hand, says it has licensed said technology through its acquisition of licence-holder S3's graphics chip operation.

At Computex earlier this month, VIA said it would ship the P4X266 without Intel's blessing, though that hasn't stopped it trying to win over the chip giant over the last few months. Indeed, the Economic News piece suggests it may still be talking to Intel in the hope that a settlement can be reached.

The P4X266 is set to ship sometime next quarter, ahead of other third-party P4 DDR chipsets from SIS and Acer Labs, and certainly before the DDR version of Brookdale, which isn't scheduled to ship until Q1 2002. If the VIA chipset ships in August, as anticipated, it will even come ahead of the SDR versiong of Brookdale, which isn't expected to ship before September. ®

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