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Via Technologies, a developer of microprocessors, chipsets and graphics chips, on Thursday officially unveiled a family of Via Nano central processing units (CPUs) that is based on the code-named Isaiah micro-architecture. The chips are designed for low-power affordable PCs, however, their actual power consumption seems to be rather high compared to rivals. Still, with the right balance of price, performance and power use, the new CPUs may become relatively popular.

“Via Nano processors represent the next generation of x86 technology, providing the fundamental building blocks for a new genre of optimized computing solutions. ‘Small is Beautiful’ is more than a design strategy; it’s our vision of where the PC market is heading and our new processors will help the market realize that dream,” said Wenchi Chen, president and chief executive officer of Via Technologies.

Via Nano is the first x86 processor from Via Technologies that features 64-bit instruction set along with a superscalar and out of order execution engine, macro-fusion and micro-fusion functionality, advanced branch prediction mechanism, advanced floating point unit as well as support for virtualization technology and Via PadLock security engine.

The new chips that belong to the Isaiah family will also feature Adaptive PowerSaver Technology that further reduces power consumption and improve thermal management, including the unique TwinTurbo dual-PLL implementation, which permits smooth transitions between activity states within one clock cycle, ensuring always-on service and minimize latency, as well as new mechanisms for managing the die temperature.

The Via Nano processor family is built using Fujitsu’s 65nm process technology for enhanced power efficiency, and augments that with aggressive power and thermal management features within the compact 21mm x 21mm nanoBGA2 package. The chips boast with idle power consumption of 0.1W, however, their maximum thermal design power (TDP) is from 5W to 25W depending on the model, which is considerably higher compared Intel Atom Z500-series, which maximum TDP is 2.4W, and is also higher compared to Intel Atom Z300-series chips, which can consume up to 8W.

Initially Via plans to release Via Nano L-series processors for low-cost desktop and mobile PC systems and the ultra low voltage Via Nano U-series for small form-factor desktop and ultra mobile devices such as mini-notes. The family of Via Nano currently looks as follows:

  • Via Nano L2100: 1.80GHz, 800MHz PSB, 25W TDP;
  • Via Nano L2200: 1.60GHz, 800MHz PSB, 17W TDP;
  • Via Nano U2400: 1.30GHz, 800MHz PSB, 8W TDP;
  • Via Nano U2500: 1.20GHz, 800MHz PSB, 6.8W TDP;
  • Via Nano U2300: 1.0GHz, 800MHz PSB, 5W TDP.

Via Nano processors are available now for OEMs and mainboard vendors, while systems featuring Via Nano processors are expected to arrive on the market in Q3 2008. Pricing of chips remains unclear.

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