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Intel

End of Intel-Pin-Compatible CPUs? 218

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-then-there-was-one dept.
sonamchauhan writes ""Intel, Via bury the hatchet" proclaims this news.com article. The settlement reportedly allows Via to build Intel-pin-compatible CPUs for three years more, but Via must cease pin-compatibility after that." This settlement apparently closes out 27 existing lawsuits.
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End of Intel-Pin-Compatible CPUs?

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  • fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by usotsuki (530037) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:23AM (#5686177) Homepage
    Woo!

    Well, pin compatibility isn't the issue I'd be concerned with, but opcode compatibility.

    -uso.
    • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:4, Informative)

      by maan (21073) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:28AM (#5686211)
      I agree that opcode compatibility is crucial (after all, that's what has allowed companies like AMD to strive, and in turn, brought down the prices of mainstream x86 processors). But if there isn't pin compatibility, then this means that you can't use one motherboard designed for Intel with a Via chip.

      Now, it's true that this isn't the case anyway: you can't buy single Via processors anyway, and it has essentially always been the case that you have motherboards for AMD procs, and motherboards for Intel procs. But it's really too bad. Think of how convenient it is that you can take an IDE hard-drive and plug it in anywhere (even Macs nowadays!) Why can't you have simple "plug'n play" processors? Then you'd have real competition among all the companies...any processor on any mobo!

      Maan
      • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:5, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:36AM (#5686267) Homepage Journal
        it has essentially always been the case that you have motherboards for AMD procs, and motherboards for Intel procs

        This is not at all true. I personally have owned at least four different Super Socket 7 boards (one is in my posession now) which would run either a K6 series processor, or any Socket 7 Pentium processor. Some of them would also run various Cyrix processors. VIA bought Cyrix. Hence, VIA *does* have the rights to some processors which are pin-compatible with some intel processors.

      • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:37AM (#5686275) Homepage
        you can't buy single Via processors anyway

        I think you're mistaken [tigerdirect.com]

        --
      • i saw them just the other day in a store, and for pennies on the dollar to current P4 chips (lets see you find a brand new 1GHz pentium anything in an average retail store these days)
      • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:3, Interesting)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)
        But if there isn't pin compatibility, then this means that you can't use one motherboard designed for Intel with a Via chip.

        Unless...

        Unless there were some kind of really simple adapter to go between the chip and the socket, that just does some pin remappings and maybe a little voltage conversion...
        • Slockets.

          I mean, it's not exactly a slocket, but it's the same concept.

          They exist. They work. If you really wanted to take your Socket 370 and put it in a slot 1, you could find a slocket to do it.

          The problem was always stability. I don't know much about chip fabrication, but I think it had something to do with the length of the pathways adding some sort of resistance, or feedback, or something.

          ~Will
      • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:2, Interesting)

        by apdt (575306)
        Why can't you have simple "plug'n play" processors? Then you'd have real competition among all the companies...any processor on any mobo!

        The prolem is that that would require processors to use a standard interface to the chipset on the mobo, which they don't. There's no real open standard for one either. Besides when you start standardising, you nearly always end up compromising somewhere along the line, which will lead to a performance penalty, and I doubt anyone will go for it if that's the case.
      • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy (216950)
        I agree with you in theory, but the upgrade path for CPUs has never been very good anyway, unless you were making very minor upgrades. Assuming most people are like me, and don't consider a new cpu until the new is 2x the speed of the old, this has been a problem even if you stuck with Intel. Bought a 300, cant put a 600 in the slot(66 vs 100 bus), same with 400 / 800 coppermine, etc. The upgrade path for MOST people has always required a new motherboard, most of the time.

        I personally like my ibm server
        • Ahh, the planar system...

          We were cleaning out old computers at netmar, and we unearthed a Sun 3/160 (check here [obsolyte.com] for pictures of a 3/160). It's not really a computer, in it's present form. It's just a VME backplane with 12 full-height slots for plugging anything you want into it.

          We found the origional processor board, which had a 17 Mhz processor and 4MB of ram (1986, folks). But, we found out, you can swap anything into it. When we pulled out another double-decker board, we were thrilled to find a bon
    • Re:fr1st ps0t #2 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by usotsuki (530037)
      I rushed to first-post *g* and look, I got modded up to 5 for 50% Funny, 50% Insightful. ROTFLMAO!!!

      You can tell I posted in a hurry, so I'll restate this more clearly; an x86 chip is still x86 no matter how it plugs into the mobo. It's not an issue that they're no longer going to be pin-compatible with an x86 - someone else says they make their own mobos, so they can make mobos for their own CPUs. No big deal.

      But I have yet to see a *real* push away from x86. Just as well, because I am going to give u
    • by Alderete (12656) <slashdot AT alderete DOT com> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @02:23PM (#5687513) Homepage
      Here's an annecdote. Earlier this year, I was building two new computers from components, for a new server and a desktop Linux system. I initially set out to make low-power, totally silent systems, based around the VIA C3 CPU.

      But after doing research into cooling solutions, etc., I decided I could stand a tiny bit of noise, in exchange for greater processing power (I want to run Java web sites off the server box). So I upgraded the CPU to a Pentium III. This was possible, not just because the processors are opcode compatible, but because they were both Socket 370 compatible. Just swapped them out.

      I would not have purchased an Intel CPU for the server system if I had made a commitment to a different socket format. So Intel would have lost.

      More importantly, as a consumer, I won big time, by having a far more flexible system, that let me make an initial investment based on one set of requirements, and then upgrade the box later, when my requirements changed.

      It's a shame that Intel doesn't want to keep this. After all, the C3 processor doesn't really compete with Intel's products -- there's quite a difference in processing power, at similar clock speeds. So let VIA have the low-power low end for us SilentPC enthusiasts, and own the rest. It's basic market segmentation, and Intel knows how to do that, profitably, very well.
      • I find that I have no need for op-code compatability, so long as I have source code compatability. GCC can take the same source file, and make it run on nearly any processor. (Any reasonable processor really, but if I don't qualify it someone will ask about 6502 support)

        I care about how fast the processor is running my apps. x86, Sparc, MIPS, alpha, come to mind as reasonable processors to consider, all will meet my needs just fine.

        Well, there is an exception, I have wine [winehq.com] installed so in theory I can

  • by intermodal (534361) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:25AM (#5686192) Homepage Journal
    just as I was saying the other night that i wished VIA would make C3s that go in AMD-socket boards...
    • by gid (5195)
      I was thinking the same thing. This could bite Intel right in the ass if they're not careful. What if all the other chip manufacturers until and settle on a standard socket. Then why should I buy an Intel board when I'd be stuck buying Intel chips. Now if I buy an AMD compat board, I could use an AMD chip, low power and quiet VIA chip, Crusoe (hey, who knows, they might actually release something useful to me), etc.
      • Astro is more likely to do this than Crusoe...there really isnt much incentive for TransMeta to port Crusoe to a new socket when they can just ramp up for it with their newer chips to come when it actually happens.
  • by dtldl (644451) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:27AM (#5686207)
    and so attatched to the board anyway, making pin compatibility a non-issue.
    • See the forest? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Erris (531066)
      The priciple, that Intel can keep others from pin compatibility, is important. Intel has done everyting in its power to avoid direct competition. They have changed their own pinout frequently and threatened others who would follow. AMD has had longer lasting pinouts! The result is 5 or 6 types of i386 motherboards. While, thankfully, instruction set compatibility has been maitained, there is less competition in the motherboard and chip market because of this. Oh well.
    • and so attatched to the board anyway, making pin compatibility a non-issue.

      This doesn't make much sense to me. cpu's can't be mini-itx. That is a motherboard size not a cpu size. Also, what about mini-itx means that the cpu would be attached to the board? Many mini-itx boards are available with no cpu soldered on.
  • Intel Hate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bonker (243350) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:28AM (#5686210)
    Man, I was so happy the day I bought an AMD-compatible mobo. AMD's are not, of course, pin-compatible with Intel. AMD is not a perfect angel, but they're a sight better than Intel, especially when you consider you can get the same power as an Intel chip in an AMD chip for typically half to one-third the price. It was a difficult choice to make since it meant forevermore sacrificing the resuability of intel processors motehrboards I already owned, but I'm glad I did.

    My friends who retain Intel compatibility continue to pay top dollar for less power. If I think it's time for a cpu upgrade, I simply go to my local AMD redistributor and pay about the cost of two boxed games for a chip that is more than fast enough than anything I care to do with it.
    • Re:Intel Hate (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MagPulse (316) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:44AM (#5686337)
      And 2-3 more boxed games' worth to get a motherboard to go with it, and 2-3 more for new RAM. Otherwise upgrading the CPU probably isn't worth it.
      • Re:Intel Hate (Score:5, Informative)

        by OrenWolf (140914) <ksnider@fla[ ]com ['rn.' in gap]> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:54AM (#5686398) Homepage
        Untrue. I took by VIA 133-based mobo w/256 Megs of RAM, which was originally an AMD 750, and, over the period of two years, did the following:

        - Upgraded to a 900Mhz Duron
        - added 256MB RAM
        - Upgraded to a 1.3Ghz Athlon
        - Upgraded to a 1.6Ghz Athlon XP

        Try doing that with any Intel chip. The socket changed *twice* during the comperable speeds I've listed here. An no new Mobo was purchased, nor was RAM changed (just more bought, for $60 I believe, but it was plain ol' SDRAM, *not* the insanely expensive RAMBUS I'd have been buying at the time if I had been using a P4).
        • Re:Intel Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Slime-dogg (120473) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @12:48PM (#5687012) Journal

          Yeah, similar experience here. I have an SiS mobo at home (fully integrated everything, very cheap). It's extremely upgradable though. It came with PC133 DIMM slots, as well as PC266 DDR-DRAM slots. I can upgrade the memory if I want, the processor, it has an AGP slot so I can do the video too.

          Socket A is great. Does that kind of upgradability exist for say, the Pentium 2/3 socket? Can you stick a pentium 4 in a pentium 3 socket? No. I can stick a Barton or Mustang or T-bred or T-bird in a socket A. That's a range of 800Mhz to around 3 Ghz... all that's needed is probably a bios flash.

        • I still have my Asus P2B ('98 vintage, BX chipset), which I successively upgraded from a Celeron 300 to a PIII 800 and now a Tualatin Celeron 1300 (running at 1500). The one thing I needed was a $15 slotket and a bit of soldering for the Tualatin. RAM is maxed out at 768MB. This board was easily my best computer-related investment ever.
    • Re:Intel Hate (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jkrise (535370)
      The opposite of Intel Hate is not AMD Love.... sometime back, Sanders - the chief of AMD, I believe, testified in support of MS in the anti-trust case. It was linked to the MS support of AMD's Hammer CPU, if I remember.

      Intel's recent antics with the Centrino also point to darker designs. I'd rather prefer Intel had competition from Via, Cyrix etc. than from an unreliable AMD.
      • Don't get the software politics involved here. Just because AMD doesn't do what you want them to do doesn't mean that they are a bad or unreliable company. In this market, you absolutely need support from MS, otherwise you die on the vine. Think of it... 98% of the desktop share, with the majority of business users only using MS software. As a processor maker, I'm not going to hold to software ideologies of freedom or non-freedom when going to the market. I would absolutely love, however, a release of

    • Re:Intel Hate (Score:2, Informative)

      by ergo98 (9391)
      ...when you consider you can get the same power as an Intel chip in an AMD chip for typically half to one-third the price

      I'm typing this reply on an Athon equipped PC, and historically agree, but AMD had better get their ass in gear quite quickly: Taking a quick look [pccanada.com] at the place I normally order from (CDN $), a P4 2.4Ghz 533Mhz bus processor (512KB cache) is coming in at $249.99. For just a bit less you can get the Athlon 2400+, or for $30 more you can get the Barton 2500+. In other words power/dollar is
    • especially when you consider you can get the same power as an Intel chip in an AMD chip for typically half to one-third the price.

      That doesn't sound common unless you are at the bottom end of the scale. Just looking through Pricewatch, comparable CPUs are typically within $30 of each other.

      $483 Athlon XP 3000
      $485 Pentium 4 3.06GHz

      $171 Pentium 4 2.53GHz
      $163 Athlon XP 2500

      The biggest differences were near the bottom of the scale:

      $130 - Pentium 4 2.0GHz Sock 478
      $67 Athlon XP 2000
  • by rbolkey (74093) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:29AM (#5686217)
    From the article, 11 legal suits are involved which reference 27 different patents from either side.
  • by Tesser (177743) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:30AM (#5686235) Homepage
    According to the article, "The settlement--which involves 11 cases filed in five countries--will essentially make it far easier for Via to sell processors and chipsets to PC makers."

    Where did the 27 come from? Oh, wait: "In total, 27 patents were at issue in the various cases."

    Man, reading comprehension must be in short supply these days. There were 11 lawsuits involving 27 patents.

    Speaking of reading comprehension, the settlement is for the following:
    "For the first three years, Intel has agreed not to sue Via for making processors that come with buses and pin structures that are similar to Intel's products. Similarly, Intel has granted Via a license to make chipsets that are pin- and bus-compatible with Intel products for four years, and has agreed not to sue Via or its customers for using pin- and bus-compatible chipsets for another year beyond that."

    So they can essientially get away with selling them for FIVE years, not three.

    Geez...
  • ...continue to buy competing chips that conform to standardized pin-outs, and blow non-conforming hardware right the fsck off.
    No whining about businesses trying to control markets through proprietary hardware and software. The logic for so doing is clear.
    Just say 'no' to the proprietary pusher-man.
    • by dissy (172727)
      > And may the market continue to buy competing chips that conform to standardized
      > pin-outs, and blow non-conforming hardware right the fsck off.

      Hehe, the funny part about that is Intel pretty much defined the standard pinouts, so if they choose to change it, guess what, that change is pretty much the standard.

      So before and after the change, you think everyone should blow off every CPU maker that isnt Intel?

      Well screw that parent poster, im sticking with AMD myself, you can keep your overpriced und
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx. b c .ca> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:36AM (#5686270) Journal
    No pin compatibility? Fine. Swap a small number of pins, and distribute that. VIA can make its chipsets and make motherboards for its new CPUs.

    Of course, what's to stop some clever young upstart from being willing to raise his CPU off the board by an addition 3 to 4 mm, to place a special ceramic enclosure between the CPU and the board? This enclosure would do nothing more than swap the pins back (sorta like a null modem cable). Of course, this would probably also require a slightly different cooling solution, but at least it's doable.

    And there you have it. VIA's chipsets can work with Intel's CPUS and Intel's chipsets can work with VIA's CPU's once again. All VIA has to do is *NOT* be the manufacturer of the conversion enclosure.

    • Don't know how reliable that would be. At higher speeds, things like lead length are critical, not to mention the added resistance of two pressure connection, resistance is pretty critical when your logic levels are only a couple volts.
      • Well the logic levels may be a couple of volts (1.8v) but aren't the Input/Output signals still 3.3v? Either way I agree with you that sockets are bad. IANAEE, but as I understand it the fast edge rates of the memory interfaces would get reflections at each impedance change, so going through the processor package, an adapter, and then the socket would be significant discontinuity. I'm amazed the high-speed signals work through pins and sockets at all. An adapter would also be relatively expensive and un
    • by The_K4 (627653)
      You did read the part about the BUS needing to be different too didn't ya? If the FSB don't also change, they would be violating the agreement.
    • by haggar (72771)
      what's to stop some clever young upstart from being willing to raise his CPU off the board by an addition 3 to 4 mm, to place a special ceramic enclosure between the CPU and the board?

      Totally terrible and unnecessary solution. If you swap a couple of pins on the CPU, you can simply have a BIOS setting where you select the CPU, and the circuitry on the motherboard will do the magic (provided that you chose pins that are not delay-sensitive, and you have plenty of such signals on a CPU). You could even hav
  • by jez_f (605776) <jeremy@jeremyfrench.co.uk> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:38AM (#5686284) Homepage
    Isn't this blatantly anti competitive. Not mercurially illegal but stifling competition.
    If there were a standard chip/motherboard interface then you would be able to choose the chip that you want and the board that you want based on your preferences. Once this grace period is over (3 years) you will have less combinations available.
    When are businesses going to realise open standards = growth.

    Mind you I use mini-itx at home anyway so I shouldn't complain.
    • It might be stifling competition but on the other hand, intel chose the pinout. That is a design issue, placing pins in the best possible locations. Well, probably not, since it's intel, but the point is that it is arguably patentable. Of course, you shouldn't be able to patent pin locations unless you have come up with something truly new, similarly, bus protocols.
    • If there were a standard chip/motherboard interface then you would be able to choose the chip that you want and the board that you want based on your preferences.

      Good lord. The chip is the board. I mean, look, once upon a time you had a relatively standard interface. Socket 5 (maybe earlier, too), Socket 7, and even Socket 370, to an extent. Standard interface, standard bus speeds, etc, because, for the most part, there was only really the one way to do things because nobody but Intel was in a position to

    • AMD saves this from being anti-competitive behaviour. They have a competing and compatible chip line which uses different pinouts. That not only provides competition, but provides proof of VIA's (theoretical) ability to compete.

      So no, it's not. It may not be great, but it's allowed under competition laws.
    • How is this anti-competitive? VIA can still compete with Intel- look at how AMD has done with incompatible pinouts.

      Intel spends lots of money developing the bus protocols and pin outs, and that is largely responsible for Intel's slight performance edge. I see no reason why they should blindly give that technology away.
  • The Register [theregister.co.uk] has an article [theregister.co.uk] about it as well.
    Now this brings up the question on what teh chipset clause means for the industry. I know I have via chipsets on my Athlon boards, and it seems likely that VIA will keep producing theese, but what about the Intel market? Does this mean that there will be a player less in that market in five years? Its a rather long time, perhaps the current hardware model is obsoleted by then? MiniATX + integrated systems + Palladium (TPC, was that what it was called?).
  • To be slightly pedantic, can't anyone get the name of the company right?

    It's even written on all their press releases [via.com.tw], including the one [via.com.tw] linked to from Slashdot earlier today [slashdot.org]:
    Note to reporters, editors and writers: VIA is written in ALL CAPS!
    • Re:VIA, not Via... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jungle guy (567570)
      Reporters must follow editorials rules. Generally, these rules make them use Via and Nvidia instead of VIA and NVIDIA. The use of ALL CAPS in a news story makes it look like a marketing piece.
      • Re:VIA, not Via... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b1t r0t (216468)
        So I should start using Ibm instead of IBM? :-)
      • Re:VIA, not Via... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mattdm (1931)
        Yeah -- "If you want your name to stand out, buy an ad".

        This is just common sense on the part of journalists -- if they could get away with it, companies would insist that their name must always be in inch-high distinctive letters in bright colors. And all of their products, too.
      • scripsit Jungle guy:

        Reporters must follow editorials rules. Generally, these rules make them use Via and Nvidia instead of VIA and NVIDIA. The use of ALL CAPS in a news story makes it look like a marketing piece.

        There's a trend toward downcasing all acronyms which are actually pronounced as words (and not letter-by-letter); BBC has wholeheartedly embraced this, writing `Nasa' for NASA, `Nato' for NATO, and now `sars' for SARS.

        Of course, AFAIK Via and Nvidia aren't acronyms at all, so there's really n

        • Exactly. It is not only BBC - press all over the world tend to follow this rule. IBM, AMD and BBC are writen ALL CAPS because their names are not pronounced as words.
      • Please tell me that you're joking.
  • Not a big deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MisterP (156738) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:44AM (#5686336)
    The last Via chip I bought was soldered to the mainboard anyway. At the rate at which motherboard technology changes, this isn't really a big deal.

    Also, if you look at Via's upcoming and beta (www.mini-itx.com) products, it's quite obvious that they are aiming at the psuedo-embedded type market. People want very small and low cost mainboard/cpu's to make specialty type computers such such as MP3 jukeboxes, divx players, email machines and mame consoles. For most of these types of applications, the system requirements don't change as quickly. An MP3/Ogg dedicated machine will continue to be just as useful 10 years from now. You might upgrade it to make it smaller or add 9.1 whiz-bang-super-thx sound, but not being able to replace the CPU, doesn't matter.

    0.02
  • by miketang16 (585602) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @10:50AM (#5686371) Journal
    Apparently, the Intel Teja's due to come out sometime next year, will do away with pins all together.
    See this link [extremetech.com].
  • by asv108 (141455) <alex@ph[ ]udio.org ['ata' in gap]> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @11:25AM (#5686569) Homepage Journal
    This is kinda off topic but related to Intel compatibility, all the centrino branded laptops are being sold with the Intel 2100 Pro mini-pci wireless adaptor. This adaptor does not currently work on Linux. Intel has announced tentative plans to support this adaptor on Linux. The are still deciding whether or not to release it as open source or binary only. Considering the large amount of laptops being sold with the 2100 Pro adaptor, I urge anyone, to contact Intel [intel.com] and let them know that you would like to see an open source wireless driver for linux, as soon as possible. You can also send them an e-mail too [mailto]. We don't want this to turn in to another winmodem situation.
  • Related Link (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msaulters (130992) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @11:39AM (#5686636) Homepage
    This Link [statesman.com] gives a little info from the Centaur side of the issue.
  • The only VIA-cpu's I've taken a serious interest in is soldered onto their cute little EPIA-mobos. As it is soldered in - and designed to be a cool, low-power (watt) solution - I honestly could care less wether it's pincompatible with Intel, AMD or anyone else.
  • by Rolman (120909) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @01:05PM (#5687102)
    As someone who has been involved in development of computer boards (not just PCs), I can say pin compatibility is not aimed for the end-user's benefit, VIA C3 is not just intended to be a "replacement CPU". Although it could be used as such, it is not the biggest benefit of pin compatibility.

    The main reason why it's desirable for Via to have a pin-compatible CPU with Intel's specification is because it shortens the development time and cost of a motherboard. It's easier and cheaper for the M/B manufacturer to design the board's layout if the signals are in the same place, because a re-layout of a M/B is very expensive in both time and money. (in some cases the full development can go upwards to several hundred thousand dollars)

    Additionally, there are chipsets that can support both Intel and Via CPUs, (most notably some SIS SOC designs) making it even easier to make a M/B, but this fact it's not necessarily related to having interchangeable CPUs with a socket. Having a socket is of little to no use because Intel and Via CPU's are aimed at different market segments, anyway.

    Remember the whole Slot-1/Slot-A fiasco? Intel developed the PII with a slot connector, and used patents/copyrights/trademarks/whatever to prevent AMD or any other CPU manufacturer to make pin-compatible CPUs. AMD then developed the Athlon to use exactly the same connector, although with different electrical specifications and pin definition. This move was aimed to facilitate the manufacturers' development and time-to-market efforts, never to give power to the end-user.

    I can't believe nobody has mentioned this and everybody is easily misleaded into thinking this issue is not a important one. Maybe this shows just how few hardware development we have in the West.
  • 3 years... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Duncan3 (10537)
    In all seriousness, in 3 years if things continue... falling prices, endusers not buying into the upgrade cycle, AMD and Intel undercutting each other, video cards outpacing CPU's...

    3 years may be about the right time to bail from the PC (meaning intel) market and focus strictly on the exploding embedded markets...
  • by MarkRH (629597) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @03:27PM (#5687899) Homepage
    Frankly, I'm surprised that this entire story hasn't received more attention. On one hand, the premise of the story is correct--the terms of the license allow Via to develop its own pinouts and architecture, similar to AMD--that's Intel's intent in signing the deal, according to insiders at the company. The Via platform will indeed be a platform.

    The most interesting bit in my mind, however, is what happens to this rogue bus license owned by S3. Recall that S3 Inc. signed a patent cross-license with Intel, then exited the graphics business, became Sonicblue, and sold off its assets to a joint venture with Via called S3 Graphics. That's why the current deal excludes S3 Graphics.

    However, Sonicblue is also auctioning off its assets. That means there's going to be an Intel bus license up for grabs, possibly. However, as we wrote here [extremetech.com], Sonicblue's legal team says the license can't be transferred without Intel's permission. That should make the auction more interesting, certainly...

  • by Jerrry (43027)
    Hell, most Intel CPUs are not pin compatible with other Intel CPUs.

    -
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