Via Announces C7 Esther Processor

The tiny, low-power chip, expected to ship late in the second quarter, is designed to run at speeds up to 2GHz.

Via Technologies Inc. announced its C7 "Esther" processor on Friday, a tiny, low-power chip that was designed for a relatively fast clock speed.

Named after a humble woman that became the queen of Persia, Esthers target markets are modest as well. The chip will be designed into thin-and-light notebooks as well as small-form-factor and energy-efficient "green PCs." Slated to run at speeds up to 2GHz, the chip will ship late in the second quarter.

Although the Esther chip has been found on Via road maps for several years, it has been delayed several times. In 2003, Via projected that the C5I or "Esther" processor would ship in late 2004. Last October, Via executives indicated that the chip would ship during the first quarter of 2005.

Nevertheless, the C7 was designed according to low-power, small-die-size mantra that has been the watchword of Centaur Technologies, the processor design house that was acquired by Via in 1999. The C7 measures just 30 square mm, with an idle power of about 0.1 watts. Running at its peak speed of 2GHz, the C7 will consume 20 watts, a few watts more than Intels latest Pentium Ms.

"For me, the Esther core is the embodiment of my vision for a cool, secure and versatile processor that will take the x86 platform to the next level," said Glenn Henry, president of Centaur Technologies and chief architect of the chip, in a statement. "It is the culmination of many years of designing for the optimal balance of mobility, performance, and security."

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