Via signs up for the dual-graphics game

Taipei (Taiwan) - Via's S3 graphics unit is not quite the first destination for gamers who are looking for a performance graphics card. But with dual-graphics solutions quickly moving into the mainstream segment, it was not a question if but rather when Via would enter this increasingly lucrative opportunity to grow its graphics chip sales. The firm now announced it has begun sampling the K8T900 chipset, which supports the firm's dual-graphics card technology Multichrome.

The chipset targets the AMD platform with support for Opteron, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 and Sempron processors. According to the company, the chipset allows users to run two "or more" Chrome S27 cards in tandem through its currently offered dual x8 PCI Express interfaces. The company positions its Multichrome technology "that enables high speed communication between the graphic cards without the need for special connectors or cables", but does not claim that it will outrun higher-end Nvidia SLI or ATI Crossfire systems. Instead, the company says that it will provide a performance-per-watt optimized solution for multimedia desktops, workstations and professional applications that require output to up to four monitors.

The K8T900 also introduces a new proprietary technology "RapidFire" that, according to Via, improves PCI Express architecture and increases graphics card performance by lowering latency and improving signal quality. Boards equipped with the chipset can be configured to include dual x8 PCI Express connections or alternatively a standard single x16 PCI Express graphics connection. In combination with the VIA VT8251 South Bridge, the chipset brings an additional six x1 PCI Express interfaces, as well as four SATA 3.0 connectors and the firm's high-definition audio technology. Via expects the K8T900 to be available in volume during the first quarter of 2006.