New VIA VX855 chipset promises 1080p playback in a tiny, power-sipping package

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vx855_main The bane of small form factor PCs and netbooks so far has been the inability to play HD video without blowing a gasket. VIA hopes to change all that with the VX855, a media system processor (MSP) that “offers full hardware acceleration of the widest variety of leading video standards including H.264, MPEG-2/4, DivX and WMV9, allowing smooth playback of high bit-rate 1080p HD video.” The chipset sips 2.3 watts and is 27mm square.

The small size is possible because the MSP integrates the North and South bridges, resulting in what VIA claims to be a 46% reduction “of silicon real estate compared with competing twin-chip core logic implementations.” The chip’s size and low power requirements allow it to run inside a fanless system, which ought to make it a good option for home theater PCs and ultraportable computers.

The VX855 is compatible with VIA’s currently-available Nano, C7, and Eden CPUs so it should only be a matter of time before we see systems with the new chipset available on the market.

Here’s the full press release:

New VIA VX855 Media System Processor Brings Power-Efficiency to 1080p HD Video Playback

VIA VX855 MSP offers hardware H.264 video acceleration in a tiny, highly integrated single chip package with an ultra low TDP of 2.3 watts

Taipei, Taiwan, 12 March 2009 – VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the VIA VX855 Media System Processor (MSP) – an ultra power efficient, all-in-one chipset that addresses the key performance and entertainment requirements of today’s small form factor and mobile PC systems.

Increasingly, content is being filmed in high-definition (HD), with movies, TV shows and sporting events taking advantage of the smooth playback, extraordinary picture clarity, and brilliant colors that HD video offers. However, until now the high bit-rates associated with quality HD video have posed a real challenge to the processing capabilities of power efficient PC systems such as those found in small form factor and mobile devices.

Set to be Microsoft® Windows® 7-ready, the VIA VX855 MSP solves the problem by offering support for full hardware acceleration of the widest variety of leading video standards including H.264, MPEG-2/4, VC-1 and WMV9, greatly reducing the workload and thus the power consumption of the processor.

“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, Vice President of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “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.”

Compatible with the ultra compact VIA Nano™, VIA C7® and VIA Eden™ processor families, the VIA VX855 MSP integrates all the cutting-edge features of a modern chipset’s North and South bridges into a 27mm x 27mm single chip package that saves over 46% of silicon real estate compared with competing twin-chip core logic implementations. This miniaturization, combined with extensive power management technologies and the ability to run fanlessly within a tiny 2.3 watt power envelope, enables system builders to design ever smaller, lighter, and more portable systems.

About the VIA VX855 Media System Processor

The VIA VX855 MSP integrates a high performance DDR2 memory controller, a 400/800MHz FSB processor interface, and extensive I/O capabilities (such as 6 x USB 2.0, SDIO, UART, SPI, LPC and SMBus) in a single chip. Support for the integrated VIA Chrome9™ HCM Graphics Processor, HD audio controller, and a host of display interfaces in its in-built LVDS transmitter, CMOS LCD and CRT interfaces, allows for more flexible multimedia playback options.

An advanced graphics experience is powered by a high frequency 2D/3D graphic engine, while the high performance image processing features include support for hardware decode acceleration of leading video standards as well as up to three audio streams of up to eight channels each, with 32-bit sample depth and sample rates up to 192kHz.

More information about the VIA VX855 MSP may be found on the VIA website at:
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/chipsets/v-series/vx855/index.jsp

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