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Via's New VX855 Chipset Does 1080p Video

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

While Intel and Nvidia continue to take swings at one another over who has the best netbook platform, Via introduces a new energy-efficient chipset that has potential to outshine both.

The VX855 Media System Processor (MSP) is the new energy-efficient chipset from Via that brings support for 1080p high-definition video to Via's line of Nano, C7 and Eden processors. Designed for mobile PCs and SFF systems, the VX855 MSP features an HD video processor that is capable of providing smooth hardware accelerated playback of high bit-rate 1080p videos, including videos in standard formats, such as H.264, MPEG-2/4, DivX and WMV9.

“For the first time, system developers have an ultra low power media system processor that delivers high bit-rate HD video to small form factor and mobile devices,” said Richard Brown, VP of Marketing at VIA Technologies. “The VIA VX855 opens up exciting opportunities for several PC segments, particularly the mini-notebook category that will now be able to offer true 1080p HD video playback.

The package size of the new chip is 27 mm x 27 mm, which combines all the features of a modern North and South bridge, including an integrated Via Chrome9 HCM 3D graphics core and support for up to 4 GB of DDR2 800 MHz memory. The integrated graphics core has DirectX 9.0 support, up to 512 MB frame buffer memory, compatibility with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system and a single-channel LVDS display interface, which according to Wikipedia only supports up to 1400 x 1050 resolution. The thermal design power (TDP) of the chip is just 2.3-watts, which is low enough for the chipset to run without a fan.

Although it seems a bit unnecessary for a netbook to be capable of 1080p video decoding, considering the lack of a large display on most netbooks, it is a feat that Intel's current netbook platform is mostly unable to achieve.  Even though Intel's newest GN40 chipset for Intel Atom processors can handle low-bit 1080p video, it is unable to cope with 1080p Blu-ray video.  Nvidia's Ion platform on the other hand may actually be able to handle Blu-ray video, but it does introduce an additional cost to a netbook and the lifespan of the Ion platform may be shorter than expected due to a licensing dispute between Nvidia and Intel. 

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  • 6 Hide
    computerninja7823 , March 13, 2009 12:09 AM
    this is very cool, i want to see this in a phone....or UMPC...or netbook, or something REALLY small
  • 6 Hide
    FilthPig2004 , March 13, 2009 12:30 AM
    ...or paired with an Atom inside a big LCD TV, it could take over PVR duties, telephone, broadband router/modem, home automation, internet, BT and light gaming.
  • 5 Hide
    FilthPig2004 , March 13, 2009 12:33 AM
    Bleh...sorry...meant Nano, not Atom.
  • 5 Hide
    Tekkamanraiden , March 13, 2009 1:57 AM
    I'd buy an Via Artigo if they updated it with this.
  • 4 Hide
    scarpa , March 13, 2009 7:25 AM
    Hopefully Via will take market share from Intel because prices are too high in the netbook market, that's what happens when you let Intel alone, prices get incredibly overpriced.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 13, 2009 9:56 AM
    Since Intel is so gosh darn anti-competitive and hell-bent on preventing any kind of decent(re: not 100% Intel) products from coming to market, why don't we all buy their competitors products instead?
  • 2 Hide
    apoq , March 13, 2009 12:32 PM
    I'd get a Nano powered netbook over an Atom powered one any day, even just for the sake of being different. At CeBIT there were some very shady looking Chinese companies selling Nano powered netbooks. But other than that, what other netbooks use this?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 13, 2009 2:05 PM
    as long as Via will not put restrictions on the use of their hardware like Intel and MS did (like eg: Limiting the amount of Ram on XP, limiting to older, or less energy efficient hardware);I will continue to think to support Via when their product becomes available!

    It'd be great to see which Sodimm memory modules it can support! (preferably DDR3, or 800Mhz DDR2, or 1033Mhz for the overclockers).
  • -1 Hide
    sublifer , March 13, 2009 2:17 PM
    apoqI'd get a Nano powered netbook over an Atom powered one any day, even just for the sake of being different. At CeBIT there were some very shady looking Chinese companies selling Nano powered netbooks. But other than that, what other netbooks use this?

    I think HP makes some netbooks with VIA chips.
  • 0 Hide
    tenor77 , March 13, 2009 2:37 PM
    ProDigit80as long as Via will not put restrictions on the use of their hardware like Intel and MS did (like eg: Limiting the amount of Ram on XP,


    You do realize the 4gb mem limit is due to 32 bit?
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , March 13, 2009 3:02 PM
    subliferI think HP makes some netbooks with VIA chips.

    Are they Nano notebooks? I know lots of people used the Via C7 in lots of reference netbooks a year ago, but I haven't heard to too many Nano netbooks.
  • -1 Hide
    garydale , March 13, 2009 3:16 PM
    I note that they mention while it can decode 1080p video, it can't actually display it. 1080p HD is 1920x1080 while the display interface apparently only goes up to 1400x1050. Not only is the pixel count too low, but the aspect ratio is 4:3 rather than 16:9.

    OK, so we're looking at a downsized video running letterboxed on a small screen. I can live with that.

    I also have to agree that having another competitor in the field has got to be good for the industry. Via haven't made much noise lately - it's almost all been AMD, Intel and NVidia lately - since going 64bit anyway, but I'm still using some boards built around Via chipsets. I'd love to see them get back into the running.

    Anyone hear of any plans for a 64-bit Via offering?
  • -1 Hide
    bosjee , March 13, 2009 6:50 PM
    I'm curious to know what media player can take advantage of their hardware to play 1080p video.
  • 1 Hide
    timaahhh , March 13, 2009 7:17 PM
    Quote:
    The thermal design power (TDP) of the chip is just 2.3-watts, which is low enough for the chipset to run without a fan.
    2.3 watts?????? I thought the Nano was closer to 25 watts, how did they get the power draw so low so quick? I'm thinkin this is supposed to be 23 watts.
  • 1 Hide
    mavroxur , March 13, 2009 8:02 PM
    timaahhh2.3 watts?????? I thought the Nano was closer to 25 watts, how did they get the power draw so low so quick? I'm thinkin this is supposed to be 23 watts.



    Because this is a chipset, not a CPU. Nano is a CPU. 2.3w is correct for this chip.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 16, 2009 4:21 AM
    This won't be paired with the Atom

    You know why? Because Intel won't let them do that. They didn't let Nvidia, so why would they let VIA?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2009 4:31 PM
    I have a Nano CPU into a Epia VB8001 (integrated Chrome9) and the CPU is great, but the Chrome9 is poor, poor, poor. Almost, I DON´T LIKE driver support from VIA.