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ATI A3 Athlon XP chipset revealed

Comdex show-off

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Mobo maker First International gave ATI's A3 chipset its first public outing at Comdex last week. And, as we've reported before, the chipset will support AMD's Athlon XP processor.

ATI has held open the prospect of a PC chipset for some time - ever since it was granted a Pentium 4 bus licence by Intel. That deal, plus ATI's desire to compete with nForce, the Athlon-oriented chipset from arch-rival Nvidia, suggested that ATI's part would support Intel processors.

However, internal AMD roadmaps revealed in October that the chipset, codenamed A3, will support AMD's Athlon and Duron chips, a fact confirmed by the First International demo board.

(That's not to say that A3 won't support the P4 at some point, but AMD's line-up seems to dominate ATI's sights right now. Perhaps it feels that there's already too much competition in the P4 arena.)

The A3 north-bridge chip will support PC1600 and PC2100 DDR SDRAM. Its integrated graphics core is based on the latest generation of Radeon chip, the Radeon 7500 - and not, you'll note, the Radeon 8500 (aka R200). The chip supports an external 4x AGP slot. Mobo makes are free to use any compatible third-party south-bridge.

First International's board, the AT31, is expected to ship next month. ®

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VR-Zone has a piccy of the A3

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