VIA has begun shipping its Athlon 64 chipset, the K8M800 - the world's first integrated chipset for the 64-bit AMD processor, it claims. You might wonder why a workhorse like the Athlon 64 would be paired with an relatively low-spec. integrated graphics core, given the focus of 64-bit computing on high bandwidth applications, but VIA reckons there's demand for the part "beyond the realms of high-end workstations and gaming PCs". And AMD certainly claims the 64-bit chip is a better 32-bit processor than its previous 32-bit Athlons. VIA presumably wants to appeal to system builders who feel the same.
The K8M800 North Bridge contains an S3 UniChrome Pro 128-bit, 200MHz graphics core with two parallel pixel processing pipelines and support for 16MB to 64MB of shared memory. It has its own MPEG 2 engine, and can still work with an external graphics card courtesy of a AGP 8x bus. Like VIA's discrete Athlon 64 chipset, the K8T800, the integrated part uses the VT8237 South Bridge, which brings the usual array of storage and I/O features: dual Serial ATA with RAID 0, 1 and 0+1; four parallel ATA-133 buses; 56Kbps modem; 10/100Mbps Ethernet; Gigabit Ethernet; VIA's Vinyl surround sound system; support for eight USB 2.0 ports, and so on.
While the K8M800 is shipping now, motherboards based on the part aren't expected until early next quarter. Usual suspects Asus, Biostar, Chaintech, ECS, FIX, Gigabyte, Jetway, Mitac, MSI, Shuttle and Wistron are among those mobo makers who have committed themselves to offering K8M800-based boards.
News source: The Reg