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Did VIA really release a chip called VIAGRA?

Apparently so, according to the image on the right. As you can see, the VIAGRA branding on the chip is quite clear. While I’m sure it’s not news to some, it was entirely fresh to me when I spotted it on FAIL Blog.

Basking in the unrelenting funny of the image wasn’t enough, I had to find out exactly when this chip existed and what its purpose was. So, after ten minutes of hunting around the Interwebs, I found forum talk that suggested the VIAGRA was a rebranded VIA MVP4 – a northbridge designed for AMD’s K6-2 and K6-III CPUs. VIA’s own website confirmed the fact; both chips share the same model number – 8501. A shot of the MVP4 can be found here.

Finally, tech site AnandTech helped me date the unfortunately-named piece of hardware, via a review published in February of 1999.

So, all my questions answered? Not exactly. Ignoring the name’s automatic association with a certain type of “upper”, what would possess VIA to brand a chip in such a fashion? My guess is because the MVP4 includes integrated graphics – a Trident Blade3D to be exact – VIA felt it could get away with adding the “GRA” (short for graphics) suffix. The Blade3D existed around the same time as the Voodoo3 and, while it didn’t stand well against 3dfx’s hardware, it slapped Intel’s integrated solution around like a misbehaving puppy.

~ by Logan on February 11, 2010.

3 Responses to “Did VIA really release a chip called VIAGRA?”

  1. I personally think this is shopped by some idiot that saw the chip and thought it would be funny to add “GRA” to the end of the company logo.

  2. That’s what I thought too. But then I saw another type of chip with the same branding: http://www.epanorama.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Via_gra.jpg

    I also found a reference to the VIAGRA on the website of PC Chips, a motherboard manufacturer: http://pcchipsusa.com/support-pcchips-bios.asp. The branding can also be seen at Motherboards.org: http://www.motherboards.org/mobot/chipsets_d/PC+Chips/VIA+GRA/

    So I’m fairly confident it’s the real deal. :)

  3. i got in crap at school for shouting this out in art, the teacher told me to shut up before he embarasses me. lol

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