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Growth opportunities for chipset industry

Posted: 23 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:via technologies? chipsets? pc? ddr chipset? intel pentium 4 processor?

Richard Brown

Director of Marketing, VIA Technologies Inc.

Last year, the industry has witnessed stiff competition in the chipset sector as a result of three factors: the general slowdown in PC unit sales across the world; Intel's aggressive pursuit for a bigger market share; and the entrance of new players in the market like Nvidia and ATI. VIA Technologies, on the one hand, has weathered the storm well, defending its market share through aggressive leadership in new technologies like DDR333, AGP 8X, and USB 2.0, while continuing to offer a broad range of solutions for all major CPU platforms.

This year, we see significant opportunities for growth in the traditional desktop, mobile, and server chipset markets, with the Asia-Pacific market expected to continue outpacing the semiconductor industries of the U.S. and of Europe. The emerging market for small form factor digital media devices based on x86 hardware and software is also expected to contribute to the growth, with application-optimized chipsets like the VIA Apollo CLE266, set to enable a wide variety of new products.

In the Intel CPU compatible chipset market, we will continue to offer high performance DDR chipsets such as the Apollo P4X400 (single channel DDR333) and Apollo P4X600 (dual channel DDR333), competing directly with similar offerings from both Intel and SiS. In addition, we will introduce a unique value proposition with the launch of Quad Band Memory (QBM) in the Apollo P4X800 at the end of Q1.

QBM leverages existing DDR infrastructure while offering double the memory bandwidth of standard DDR266/333 solutions. This will be particularly important to the market as the Intel Pentium 4 processor platform migrates to higher clock speeds and the faster 533/667MHz Front Side Bus. We are confident that QBM gives our company a clear competitive advantage and that it will prove popular with both mainboard makers and downstream OEM/SI customers.

Further, we expect to even better our position in the market this year through VIA KT400-based motherboards, which are already benefiting from the falling prices of AMD Athlon XP CPUs. The introduction of the AMD K8 CPU platform, which is expected at the end of Q1, is also an exciting opportunity for us.

We are also looking beyond the traditional PC system, towards new markets where we firmly believe long-term growth will be found. The Apollo CLE266 chipset, with an integrated MPEG2 decoder is the first of a new generation of chipsets optimized for specific applications and market segments. The CLE266 is designed to work in tandem with the low power C3 processor and enable high quality DVD playback in silent and small form factor consumer electronics devices that retain key elements of PC functionality. A final field of interest that VIA will explore with real dynamism this year would be applications for CPU platforms as well as wireless systems.

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