It has been obvious for some time that Intel has been the dominant player for Intel platform chipsets. Now with VIA, ATI, and nVidia entering into the market space they have the ability to hit at many the known weaknesses of the Intel chipsets. VIA beat out ATI and nVidia out of the gates with an Intel chipset and their marketing aim was clear as day. VIA has done a great job on making the transition to PCIe graphics and DDR2 memory as easy as possible for consumers. By launching chipsets that can offer AGP/PCIe and DDR1/DDR2 they allow the consumer to upgrade at will, which is an A+ in our book. No one likes being forced into buying an entirely new system with each and every advance in technology!
When it comes to pricing VIA swung the bat at the knees of Intel on this one. The chipsets will all be priced lower than the equivalent Intel solution! With a lower price point and a price versus performance ratio that looks equally as nice we are highly anticipating the retail boards from VIA’s partners. They have a good number of partners too: ASUS, ABIT, Chaintech, Biostar, DFI, ECS, EPoX, Gigabyte, Jetway, Soltek and MSI are already on board. We didn’t run any benchmark numbers in this Preview and that is because our reference board had a couple hard wire fixes on it and some other issues after flying into the United States. With retail boards coming in a couple weeks we will be able to give you real numbers from finished boards.
It is too early to tell if these chipsets will cripple Intel’s dominance, but they have us thinking of the possibility!