Ah, the humble northbridge; neither as earnest as the processor nor as glamourous as the dedicated video card, it works its subtle charms and waits in vain for recognition. If VIA have their way, though, the northbridge will soon be declared the saviour of the proletariat: the new VIA VN1000 is intended for entry-level all-in-ones, SFF machines and budget desktops, instilling them with DirectX 10.1 support and the ability to play back 1080p Blu-ray content.
There's also support for DDR3 memory, up to four SATA II hard-drives, a multi-format memory card reader and five PCI card slots, as well as a full twelve USB 2.0 ports. It'll also play nicely with the more advanced graphics features of Windows 7 and throws in dual channel support for DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA and others.
At its heart beats the VIA Chrome 520 graphics processor, with OpenGL 3.0 and OpenCL 1.0 compatibility, and the company say that, when you pair the VN1000 with their VT8261 southbridge, total power consumption for the two is 12W under load. They're compatible with VIA's own Nano, C7, C7-M and Eden procesors, and are available to manufacturers now.