Pentium M Licensee to Use Chipsets in Laptops

Thanks to its deal with Intel, SIS can legally sell three chipsets intended for the ultraportable notebook market.

Chipset supplier Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. has licensed the Pentium M bus technology from Intel Corp., allowing SIS legally to ship several new chipsets for the ultraportable notebook market.

SIS, of Hsin-Chu, Taiwan, did not disclose the details of the agreement; deals of this sort historically have involved royalty payments or intellectual-property transfers from the licensee to Intel, according to companies with existing agreements.

SIS may now legally sell three chipsets it has developed for the mobile market: the discrete SIS648MX chipset, and the SISM661MX, which includes the Real256E graphics engine developed by SIS.

However, SIS entrance into the Pentium M market will likely extend the Pentium Ms reach without providing a serious challenge to Intel. SIS has typically sold the majority of its chipsets in the Asia-Pacific region, where Transmetas Crusoe processor has enjoyed its greatest success.

"The cutting-edge technology of Pentium M microprocessor will be the main stream of the market," said Michael Chen, president and chief executive of SiS, in a statement. "We are pleased to extend our long-term relationship with Intel to continuously provide new products with leading technology."

ATI, the only other Pentium M licensee, has enjoyed much greater success in the marketplace. During the second quarter of 2003, ATIs mobile integrated chipsets outsold Intels, according to Dean McCarron, an analyst at Mercury Research.

The SIS648MX includes the Pentium Ms 400-MHz front-side bus as well as support for DDR-400 memory and an 8X AGP interface to an external graphics chip. The SISM661MX is identical to the SIS648MX, except that it offers an additional internal AGP connection that directly connects to the chipset to the Real256E graphics engine. The SISM661MX can display the notebooks output on a CRT, LCD, or TV display.

Both chipsets are designed to be used with the SIS162 802.11b WLAN controller and the SIS964 south bridge, which contains eight USB 2.0 ports, integrated 5.1-speaker audio, and integrated 10/100 Ethernet. The SIS964 south bridge also allows RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations, although these are not designed for use in a notebook PC.