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VIA to up netbook horsepower

VIA Technologies developing new netbook processor with maximum power requirement of 2.3 watts

Taiwan-based VIA Technologies has announced that it is working on a new processor for netbooks and small form factor (SFF) machines. Known as the VX855, the chip is said to have a maximum power requirement of 2.3-watts.

The chip is said to be capable of decoding Full HD video (1080p) and supports video standards such as H.264, MPEG-2/4, WMV9 and the popular DivX format. Other features include 2D/3D video support and full DirectX 9 compatibility with 128-bit 2D hardware rotation. HD audio is also supported and it is claimed that the forthcoming CPU is able to tackle up to eight channels with a 192kHz sampling rate.

The VX855 will also feature an integrated memory controller that will support two DDR2 modules. The supporting chipset will also support six USB ports and is compatible with VIA’s Nano, C7 and 400MHz/800MHz front side bus (FSB) Eden chips.

To date 1080p HD video decoding has been beyond the capabilities of all netbooks. Intel’s current netbook-aimed Atom N270 CPU lacks 1080p hardware video decoding and the firm’s newer N280 CPU and accompanying chipset can only decode 720p HD video in hardware. nVidia’s competing Ion platform which uses an Atom CPU along with one of its own GPUs is currently the only netbook platform to offer 1080p HD video decoding. However, netbooks using the Ion platform have yet to hit the market.

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