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VIA CN896 Vista-Ready PCI Express Chipset for Desktop & Embedded Systems

This product is available fully ROHS-compliant.
VIA CN896 and Vista
The CN896 chipset has been awarded the Windows Vista Basic logo. The testing involved in the certification process guarantees a reliable and trouble free installation and usage of the Ultimate, Enterprise, Business, Home Premium and Home Basic editions of Microsoft Windows Vista.

Designed to provide OEMs with a platform for power efficient, affordable embedded and desktop systems, the VIA CN896 IGP chipset is fully certified with the Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Basic Logo. Features include the highly efficient VIA V4 bus interface, advanced power management, support for DDR2 and PCI Express, and outstanding flexibility with display options.

The VIA CN896 chipset supports the VIA V4 Bus to 800MHz, for VIA C7® and VIA Eden®(V4) embedded processors and VIA C7®-D desktop processors, which have been recognized by Microsoft as designed for Windows Vista. It also supports the VIA PowerSaver™ feature, which acts as an automatic transmission to lower or raise the processor’s frequency and voltage depending on the workload, reducing overall CPU power consumption by as much as 40 percent.

The VIA CN896 features a high bandwidth VIA Ultra V-Link communication between the chipset's North and South bridges at 533MB/sec. When combined with solutions such as the market-leading VIA VT8237S or VT8251 South Bridges and a broad array of VIA companion chips, the CN896 provides a comprehensive range of storage, multimedia and connectivity features, including native Serial ATA II, support for 6-channel or 8-channel VIA Vinyl Audio, VIA Velocity™ Gigabit Ethernet controllers, wireless LAN connectivity, USB2.0 and IEEE 1394.

Further flexibility can be realized with the availability of one 16-Lane PCI Express port for high end graphics cards and a further 1-Lane PCI Express port for peripheral cards.

The VIA CN896 features a dedicated CRT interface as well as outstanding flexibility for additional video ports such as DVI transmitter, LVDS transmitter, SDTV TV encoder and HDTV TV encoder. This provides customers with the ability to tailor the CN896 to be suitable for use with flat panel displays, a wide variety of LCD panels, TFT color panels, DVI monitors and TV displays. Separate display engines enable two outputs to display at the same time, with different information at different resolutions, pixel depths and refresh rates. The CN896 therefore provides many options for customers designing thin client, industrial PCs, point of sale machines and other embedded product. The inclusion of a 16 lane PCI Express port provides additional upgrade options for desktops, whilst keeping the base configuration at a low cost.

VIA Chrome logo

The VIA CN896 chipset features the VIA Chrome® 9 HC integrated graphics processor (IGP) featuring a DirectX® 9.0 3D accelerator for high performance and a 2D accelerator for productivity applications.

The 3D graphics engine of the CN896 chipset offers the industry's only simultaneous usage of single-pass multitexturing and single-cycle trilinear filtering. This provides stunning image quality without performance loss. The integrated video accelerator also offloads the CPU during MPEG playback.

The Chromotion CE Video Display Engine employs a multi-faceted approach to displaying multimedia content, implementing a number of advanced tools at every stage of video processing. These include integrated MPEG-2 decoding, for flawless digital video playback with ultra-low CPU-utilization, and advanced rendering tools such as Adaptive De-Interlacing and Video Deblocking, which ensure clearer playback of digital content on all display devices such as CRT, LCD, standard definition TV and HDTV up to 1080p resolution*.

Features of the VIA CN896

North Bridge  
Processor Support VIA C7®, C7®-D and Eden® (V4) processors
PowerSaver™ Support Yes
Front Side Bus 800/400MHz
Memory Support DDR2 667/533
DDR 400/333
Max Memory 4GB
PCI Express One 16-lane and one 1-lane
North/South Bridge Link Ultra V-Link (1GB/s)
Graphics Core VIA Chrome® 9 HC IGP
Video Acceleration Yes
Dual Monitor Support Supports LCD and Flat Panel (LVDS and/or DVI interface**), TV display *** and CRT at the same time
Video De-blocking Yes
Power Management Supports dynamic CKE and dynamic clock gating

Benefits of VIA CN896

VIA Chrome® 9 IGP DirectX 9.0 Graphics Core
The 128-bit 2D graphics engine enables acceleration of high quality graphics features, allowing all productivity applications to run with the best appearance possible while not sacrificing system performance. The 128-bit 3D graphics engines features dual pixel rendering pipes for advanced 3D rendering, and is capable of two textures per pass with a triangle rate up to 4.5 million triangles per second, a pixel rate up to 200 million pixels per second, and a texel bilinear fill rate up to 400 million texels per second.

The VIA Chrome® 9 HC IGP graphics core also integrates the Chromotion 3.0 Video Display Engine featuring MPEG-2 decoding acceleration, adaptive de-interlacing, video deblocking, and a comprehensive range of hi-def output support.

Extensive Display support
With support for VIA DuoView+™ capability, the VIA CN896 supports multi-monitor and extended desktop. This includes a dedicated CRT displayer interface, supporting up to 1920x1440. The CN896 also supports a two Digital Video ports supporting DVI/LVDS transmitter (VT1632A/VT1636) and TV encoder (VT1622A/VT1625).

Advanced Memory Controller
VIA's acclaimed FastStream64 memory controller enables lightning fast memory access speeds and optimal system performance, supporting up to 4GB of DDR333/400 memory or DDR2 533/667 memory.

High Performance CPU Interface
The VIA CN896 chipset supports connections to the VIA C7®, C7®-D and Eden® processors through the bandwidth-efficient VIA V4 Bus.

VIA Vinyl Multichannel Audio Suite
Delivering rich, warm surround sound at resolutions as high as 24/96 through up to six- or eight-channel outputs, the VIA Vinyl Audio 5.1 surround sound and VIA Vinyl Gold Audio 7.1 surround sound enables crisp, clear performance, representing the highest levels of audio quality in a mainstream integrated or onboard solution.

Unified VIA Hyperion Pro Drivers
VIA's unified approach to drivers has been established for eight generations of chipsets, allowing end users to benefit from seamless hardware and software compatibility.

* Requires connection to a 1080p HDTV compatible TV-Out or DVI encoder chip
** Requires connection to an LVDS transmitter chip (such as the VIA VT1637) and/or DVI transmitter chip (such as VT1632A)
*** Requires connection to an external TV encoder (such as the VIA VT1623)

Block Diagram

Key Features

» Full support for VIA C7, VIA C7-D and VIA Eden (V4)  processors
» Supports 667/533/400MHz Front Side Bus Settings
» Supports x16 PCI Express and x1 PCI Express ports
» Supports up to 4GB DDR2 533/400MHz or DDR400/333/266MHz SDRAM
» VIA Ultra V-Link 1 GB/sec 16-bit interconnect supporting V-Map Modular Architecture
» Integrated VIA Chrome® 9 Graphics core supporting DirectX 9.0 3D graphics
» 250MHz Graphics Engine Clock with separated 128-bit data paths
» 128-bit 2D and 3D Graphics Engine
» Chromotion 3.0 CE Video Display engine
   » MPEG-2 Decoder
   » Video De-blocking
   » Adaptive De-Interlace
   » DuoView+™
   » Full HDTV support up to 1080i / 720p
» Optimized Unified memory Architecture (UMA)
» 12-bit DVI transmitter
» 24-bit Flat Panel Display Interface and Dual 12-bit Flat Panel Display Interface
» 12-bit interface to external TV encoder for SDTV and HDTV display
» Support for VIA Vinyl Gold 8-channel HD Audio Controller & integrated VIA Vinyl 6-channel HD Audio
» Serial ATA support for up to 2 devices
» Integrated V-RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 0+1#, and JBOD (SATA) support
» Parallel ATA133/100/66 support for up to 4 devices
» Support for up to 8 USB 2.0/USB 1.1 ports
» Support for VIA Velocity Gigabit Ethernet companion controller & integrated 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet
» Advanced System Power Management Support

#  When using the VIA VT8237 South Bridge, RAID Level 0+1 requires four Serial ATA drives; support for the two additional drives can only be implemented with two external Serial ATA ports enabled through a SATALite PHY. Support for RAID 0+1 is natively integrated into the VIA VT8251.


VIA CN896 press release
VIA CN896 image kit

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