Processor Improvements

By Scott Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-05-29 Print this article Print

To better compete against Intel, Via revamped its microarchitecture with Isaiah, which includes a series of improvements over its current line of C7 processors. These new processors support 64-bit computing and were designed with an out-of-order instructional pipeline, which breaks data apart and allows for instructions to run in parallel as well as offer improved performance.

Via also improved the floating-point performance of the Nano line, which enhances the chip's ability to render PDF files and other rich media, for example. In addition, the new processors include 1MB of Level 2 cache and are built on a 65-nanometer manufacturing process, which should also increase the performance. (The C7 is built on 90-nm.)

On May 29, Via will release five processors in the Nano line.

These include the Nano L2100, which runs at 1.8GHz, and the L220, which has a clock speed of 1.6GHz. The company also has three low-watt models: the Nano U2400 (1.3GHz), U2500 (1.2GHz) and U2300 (1.0GHz). All the processors have an 800MHz front-side bus.

The Nano chips have a TDP (thermal design power) between 25 watts for the L2100 and 5 watts for the U2300. In addition, Via designed the new chips to work within the same socket as the platforms created for the older C7 processors.

The first notebooks to use the Nano processors should hit the market by the third quarter, according to Richard Brown, Via's vice president of marketing. In addition to selling the chips to vendors, Via also released its own reference design early this week to provide manufacturers with a way to create their own notebooks.

Via believes the "U" series processors are more mini-notebooks and low-cost PCs, while the "L" series can be used in mainstream laptops and desktops.

Although low-cost notebooks are geared toward consumers as well as education and emerging markets, Brown believes these types of laptops based on Via processors also have a place in the commercial market.

"The second market that we see for these notebooks is corporate," said Brown. "The mini-notes provide a good solution for people who are on the go a lot and they need access to full [Microsoft] Windows files or full files rather than simply just e-mail."

Intel is expected to release its Atom processors for netbooks later this year, and the company has already released another line of Atom chips for MIDs (mobile Internet devices). So far, Via has not signaled that it will enter the MID market against Intel.



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