SAN JOSE -- Via Technologies Inc. next year will introduce a double data rate (DDR) chip set to support Intel Corp.'s next-generation "Willamette" processor, according to a marketing manager with the Taiwan company during the Platform 2000 conference here today.
The introduction will be made with or without Intel licensing technology for DDR support of the Willamette processor, said Eric Chang, director of product marketing at Via Technologies. So far, Intel has refused to license technology and patents for chip sets supporting its next-generation bus line architecture, called IA-32 (for 32-bit) and IA-64 (for 64-bit) processors.
Intel fought Via in court over unlicensed chip sets for 133-MHz front-side bus systems using Intel's existing microprocessors. That dispute was dropped when Via agreed to a new licensing pact with Intel earlier this month (see July 5 story). However, the licensing agreement does not cover Willamette.
When reminded about Intel's lawsuit over unlicensed chip sets, Chang only said, "The future has a way of repeating itself." After establishing the DDR chip set for Willamette, Via expects to expand double data rate memory support to IA-32 and the "Foster" processor, planned by Intel.
Intel is promoting its Tahama logic controller for Direct Rambus DRAMs with the Willamette processor.
Chang said he believes Via Technologies will actually help Intel sell Willamette MPUs by offering a DDR chip set that will not be available from the Santa Clara, Calif., processor giant. In a way, this is similar to how Taiwan chip set suppliers are now helping Intel with upcoming DDR chip sets for Pentium III and Celeron processors.
The first Via DDR chip sets for Intel's existing PC processors will be introduced in September, with volume shipments slated to begin in the fourth quarter this year, according to Chang. About the same time, Via expects to debut its DDR chip set for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Athlon processors, he added.
VIA is also expected to unveil DDR chip sets for the PC notebook market, supporting both Intel and AMD microprocessors.