Via Shutters Centaur Technology Site, sells equipment

Via Technologies sold its Centaur Technology x86 processor development team to Intel in early November and the company is now auctioning off some of the equipment at the Centaur site in Austin, TX. Essentially, that means the company is shutting down the site and ending chip development operations in the United States.

“20,000 square feet of lab space, with over 1,200 computer test stations and thousands of components,” reads the auction description on Silicon Valley Layout (Going through Andreas Schilling). “Servers, electronic test and measurement, Cadence supercomputer, microscopes, burn-in chambers, wafer probes, technical support and much more.”

The sale of lab space, chip development, testing and debugging equipment means that neither Via Technologies nor Intel intend to keep the chip development site. For Intel (who would have to buy Via’s tools separately since it was only paying the developers and probably part of the IP), it makes more sense to add Centaur developers to its existing teams rather than keep them as as a separate entity. For Via, it makes no sense to keep developing expensive chips in the United States.

(Image credit: Silicon Valley Layout)

Centaur Technology was (and technically still is) an Austin, Texas-based x86 processor developer. After becoming a subsidiary of Via Technologies in 1999, the company developed a number of microarchitectures, which were later used for processors designed by Zhaoxin (a joint venture between Via Technologies and the Shanghai municipal government), but did not never gained any tangible market share.

At one point, Via realized that it could be lucrative to sell his Centaur development team (for $ 125 million) and preserve his right to develop / build / sell x86 processors, keep his CPU-related patents. and keep a few engineers. Meanwhile, it doesn’t look like it will continue to design processors in the United States, but instead will focus on its Zhaoxin joint venture.


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