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Via Reportedly Readying x86 Chip for Tablets, Laptops

The "Isaiah II" is due out this fall and will compete with Intel's Atom and AMD's Beema and Mullins chips, according to reports.


Intel may soon have another competitor to deal with as it continues its push into the mobile device space.

Via Technologies, which holds a sliver of the processor market, reportedly is gearing up to release a new mobile x86 processor for such devices as notebooks and tablets, challenging Intel's Atom Bay Trail systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) and Advanced Micro Devices's Beema and Mullins offerings.

According to several reports, leaked information from Via's CPU subsidiary, Centaur Technologies, indicates that samples of Via's new "Isaiah II," running at 2.0GHz and sporting four cores, tested favorably against chips from Intel and AMD.

The new chip, which will offer 2MB of Level 2 cache and 64-bit computing, could come to market as early as the fall, according to the reports.

Via unveiled the initial Isaiah architecture in 2008—the same year Intel debuted Atom—and soon after launched its first Nano chips based on the architecture. However, the company since has focused its efforts in other areas, including ARM-based processors.

During the same time, Intel has aggressively built out its Atom platform, making it the foundation of its efforts in building chips for smartphones and tablets in hopes of eating away at some ARM's dominating market share in the space. The company in September 2013 introduced its Bay Trail chips for tablets, laptops, and such new form factors as convertibles and 2-in-1s, which can be used as either tablets or notebooks.

The 22-nanometer Atom Z3000 Series SoCs are based on Intel's "Silvermont" microarchitecture, which the officials have said will enable the chips to have five times lower power consumption and three times the performance of their Atom predecessors. This will result in tablets, notebooks and convertible systems that bring together the key aspects needed for mobile platforms, such as high performance, long battery life, strong graphics, security and a good software stack, the officials said.

AMD in April luanched the follow-on to its Kabini chips, Mullins and Beema, in May 2013 for entry-level notebooks, tablets and small-form-factor ultrathin devices. The chips are based on the vendor's new "Puma" core, and offer two to four cores and Radeon R Series GPU cores based on AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture.

Editor's note: This story has been changed to include AMD's Beema and Mullins APUs.