Via design targets first-time Netbook makers

From CNET Via Technologies has released a new Netbook reference design aimed at PC manufacturers that want to start selling Netbooks for the first time.

The reference design for the Via Surfboard C855 mainboard, unveiled Tuesday, includes the Taiwanese chip company's new VX855 media system processor alongside a C7-M processor. The mainboard will provide "smooth playback" of high-bit-rate 1080p high-definition video, as well as eight-channel HD audio, according to Via.

According to Richard Brown, Via's vice president of marketing, one advantage of the Surfboard C855 design is "the head start it affords mini-notebook system developers or those seeking to enter the market."

Via's 1.6GHz C7-M is a relatively old processor, as it first appeared in 2005. It has gone back to this chip for the new reference design despite having a more recent range of processors--the Nano range--that is already used in new Netbooks, such as Samsung's NC20. The Nano range offers better performance than both the C7-M and, according to ZDNet UK reviews, Intel's ubiquitous Atom processor.

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