Now that we've gone over VIA's current products it's time to discuss the future. One of the key technologies VIA plans to add to their chipsets next year is DDR SDRAM. In particular, their Pro266 chipset will support the same features as the Pro133A but add support for PC266 DDR SDRAM. With DDR PC200 offering a peak bandwidth of 1.6GB and PC266 2.1GB, these products should compete favorably against RDRAM solutions on the Intel platform. With the recent alliance with S3, VIA plans to integrate S3's Savage4 graphics processor onto their value-minded ProMedia chipset. Motherboards based on this chipset (named the Promedia 2) should be available during the 2nd half of next year.
On the CPU front, VIA plans to release the "Samuel" CPU. While we don't know much about this product, expect it to launch at a core clock rate of 500MHz with the same cache configuration as Joshua. In the future, VIA plans to integrate the CPU, 3D graphics, and North Bridge of the chipset all in one chip, while the South Bridge features sound and networking fully integrated. This step will reduce the cost and size of a computer system significantly, ushering a new era of set-top boxes.
In conclusion, it looks like VIA has secured its foothold on 2nd-place in the chipset market, and gaining ground on Intel everyday. With the Rambus/Camino delays, Intel has left a narrow gap in the high-end market that VIA is now attempting to fill with their more cost effective PC133 products. With full Socket 370/Slot 1 compatibility the costs to motherboard manufacturers are kept at a minimum allowing VIA's Apollo platform to sell for less than an 820/RDRAM system from Intel. By the time DDR SDRAM is widely available at lower prices VIA's chipsets based on PC266 SDRAM should be available from several motherboard companies. These PC266 products may be enough to break that gap wide open!