Via drops Intel front-side bus from CPUs

Via Technologies Inc. has notified customers for its CPUs that by the end of March, it will begin selling only CPUs with a self-designed front-side bus, a part vital to transfer data to and from the CPU to other components inside a computer. The company won't seek to extend an agreement with Intel Corp. to use an Intel-compatible front-side bus.

It's a transition Via has been in the process of making ever since last May, when it launched its latest CPU series, the C7. At the time, the company launched its own front-side bus, the V4-Bus, which runs at clock speeds of up to 800 MHz, to replace an older front-side bus used under license from Intel that ran at a maximum speed of 133 MHz. A speedier front-side bus allows computer applications to run faster.

"We need to change to a new front-side bus architecture mainly because we need higher performance," said Richard Brown, vice president of corporate marketing at Via.

Via wanted to notify customers of the change so they could plan accordingly, he said.

"Obviously, we needed to engage our customers to let them know about the transition," he said.

The change was also necessitated by the looming end to an agreement signed with Intel that allowed Via to use Intel-compatible front-side buses on its CPUs through the end of March 2006.

Via doesn't intend to seek an extension to the agreement, said Brown.

Intel declined to comment.

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