Via to introduce dual PCI Express chipsets for Intel and AMD platforms

Chicago (IL) - Via is gearing up to launch dual Express chipsets for various Intel and AMD platforms which will allow users to take advantage of Nvidia's SLI technology for running two graphic cards in one PC.

Via outlines the new chipsets in a roadmap distributed to manufacturers obtained by Tom's Hardware Guide. While several chipset and mainboard manufacturers already have confirmed that they will offer dual PCI Express, it looks like Via will be first to the party.

According to the document, the company will start sampling its PT894PRO Northbridge for Pentium 4 processors in September with mass production to be scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. The chipset will appear in "enthusiast PCs" will support Pentium 4s (Willamette, Northwood, and Prescott) at bus speeds of 800 and 1066 MHz and cover Dual Channel DDR 400 and DDR2 667. The roadmap stops short of explaining the dual PCI Express solution but we expect that Via will split the x16 port into two x8 ports, a solution which also is favored by Gigabyte.

Dual PCI Express for AMD platforms will initially be limited to K8T890PRO, which aims at Athlon 64, Sempron and Opteron systems. Sampling will start at the end of this month with a manufacturing launch pointing to September - which offers plenty of time to get the chipset to customers for the Christmas season and placement in high-end PCs, servers and workstations. Same as the Intel version, Via did not elaborate on the integration of dual PCI Express.

Nvidia's Scalable Link Interface (SLI) lets users integrate two GeForce 6800 PCI Express graphic cards in one PC. SLI itself is a concept which first was introduced by 3dfx back in 1996 with the Voodoo 2 SLI. Nvidia believes that its new concept can almost double the performance of one 6800.