VIA Technologies has long since been known for a small is beautiful philosophy, and there is no reason to start doubting now if the VX700 chipset is anything to go by.
Created specifically for Ultra Mobile PCs, the UMPC Origami form factor getting publicity and hyperbole in equal measure from the direction of Microsoft right now, the VX700 enables an even smaller form factor courtesy of its single chip design. Chinhwaun Wu, Special Assistant to the President, Processor Platform Product Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. reckons that "Together with the VIA C7®-M processor, VIA can now offer a platform that breaks form factor barriers while maintaining comprehensive performance, a leading feature set, and ultra-low power operation for longer battery life."
If the DualCor Technologies' cPC, moving the UMPC concept into an even smaller handheld form factor, is anything to go by he just have a point. Using a VIA VX700 chipset and the VIA C7-M ULV processor, DualCor has created this new device with an ultra small footprint and enhanced battery life, but without compromising the mobile PC performance we all demand.
The VX700 really is the most impressive part of the VIA announcement package though, integrating as it does all the functionality of a modern chipset's North and South bridges within a single chip design that measures 35mm x 35mm. In terms of silicon real estate saved, that is a none too shabby 42% or so. In addition, when VIA talk of ‘all the functionality’ they mean it. This baby features:
- VIA UniChrome Pro II IGP core including dedicated 128-bit data paths for pixel data flow and texture/command access
- Chromotion video engine delivering advanced video acceleration for MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and WMV9
- support for both DDR and low power high-bandwidth DDR2 memory (including 32-bit DRAM modules for even smaller form factors)
- VIA Vinyl HD Audio controller to support eight high definition channels; support for SATA II and PATA drives, six USB2.0 ports, and four PCI slots
- forgetting a multi-configuration LVDS/DVI transmitter for connection to LCD, and CRT/HDTV interfaces
Of course, whether we really need a PC that is 40% smaller than the initial Origami device is another question altogether. Certainly, those of us who belong to the fat finger club are less than sure we do…