Via has launched a new chipset today described as a highly integrated ‘media system processor’ that meets the needs of today’s netbooks and other mobile devices. Dubbed VX855, the new part offers support for the Via Nano, C7, and Eden processor lines at 400 to 800 MHz FSB speeds while also integrating a DDR2 memory controller that handles up to 4GB of RAM and several input/output capabilities (including support for up to six USB 2.0 ports) in a single chip.
A new Chrome9 HCM graphics engine is also present to provide some modest 3D graphics – this is still a DirectX 9 part. Its main selling points, however, are its ability to deliver 1080p video playback while using a maximum of just 2.3W of power. The hardware supports a variety of video standards, including H.264, MPEG-2/4, VC-1 and WMV9.
Although it seems a bit unnecessary for a netbook to be capable of 1080p video decoding, considering the lack of a large display, it is a feat that Intel's current netbook platform is still unable to claim. Nvidia’s Ion platform, on the other hand, does offer such functionality but we've yet to see a retail product using it. Via could take advantage of this if it can get the VX855 chipset into a netbook soon.