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Head gets Hammered in Taipei

PC Advisor reports from Via's Technology Forum

The second annual Via Technology Forum got under way in Taipei, Taiwan, this week. Via is one of the chipset firms currently embroiled in a potential legal tug of war with Intel over Pentium 4 motherboards.

Wenchi Chen, president and chief executive of Via, kicked off proceedings by outlining the issues and future technologies the company sees as important. Via will continue to support DDR (double data rate) RAM over Intel’s favoured Rambus, with faster DDR333 expected in the near future.

Wireless networking and the need connect everything together more easily were key features of Via’s future plans. Following two days in Taipei, the event moves on to Tokyo, Beijing and Munich later this month.

Microsoft is here, of course. Eddie Wu, Microsoft’s OEM (original equipment manufacturer) director, gave an insight into the company’s .Net vision to "reboot the internet business model… to help move to end user subscriptions". In lay person's terms this means moving software away from buying it in shops and to a pay-as-you-go method.

AMD, one of Via's strongest supporters, was also on hand to show its backing. Tom Eby, group vice president, described AMD's HyperTransport system bus technology and forthcoming 64bit Hammer family of processors, codenamed Sledgehammer and Clawhammer.

Reassuring prospective developers, Eby promised if you work with them that "AMD probably won’t sue you". This levity is presumably a reference to the possibility of legal action by Intel against Via over licensing.

It may have taken 24 sleepless hours in knee-crushing economy class (sandwiched between Mr Fidget and Mrs Recline) to get to Taipei, but the result definitely makes it worthwhile.

Deeply technical, to the point of unnerving even those that talk in machine code, no technology is left unexplained at the Via Forum. The depth of knowledge combined with the density of leading-edge developers ensures the future success of an informative and worthwhile event, with the focus refreshingly centred on the technology rather than the business goals of its hosts.

Will Head is PC Advisor's deputy reviews editor.


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