VIA South Bridge to bring Serial ATA, RAID to the masses

Nothing to lose but your SCSI chains

VIA has officially introduced its VT8237 South Bridge chip, despite talking about the part in most of its recent chipset announcements.

The company said it is pitching the part straight at mainstream PCs.

The VT8237 is the successor to the VT8235 and is pin compatible with that chip. Both South Bridges support VIA's full range of North Bridges, the company said. The VT8237 supports VIA's Ultra V-Link Bridge-to-Bridge bus, which can operate at up to 1.06GBps.

The new chip brings native Serial ATA and RAID support to the table. It provides RAID 0, 1 and 0+1, though for the latter you'll need four hard drives - two for mirroring and two more to stripe the first two. Since the VT8237 only provides two Serial ATA channels, mobo makers wanting to offer RAID 0+1 will need to hook in a secondary interface chip such as VIA's SATAlite.

The 8237 also offers 10/100Mbps Ethernet and a 56Kbps modem for communications, and true USB 2.0, serial, parallel and PS/2 support for peripherals. VIA Vinyl eight-channel audio is included too, as is ATA-133 to allow up to four optical drives and old-style hard disks to be connected. ®