Via Technologies is ramping up its efforts to take on chip giant Intel. The newly unveiled Nano processor has Via aiming directly at Intel’s Atom processor.
The x86-compatible Nano processor is Via’s first 64-bit superscalar processors from the company’s portfolio of products. Based on the company’s Isaiah micro-architecture the processor was built from the ground up to utilize existing Via C7 pin arrangements. This should allow OEMs and motherboard manufacturers that are currently producing C7 processor based products to have an easier transition towards the company’s latest processor.
Forged from 65nm processing, the Nano features “aggressive power and thermal management features.” Via claims the 21mm x 21mm nanoBGA2 packaged processor pulls 100mW (0.1w) during idle times. "VIA Nano processors represent the next generation of x86 technology, providing the fundamental building blocks for a new genre of optimized computing solutions," said Wenchi Chen, President and CEO, VIA Technologies, Inc. "’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."
However, the Nano processor has a higher thermal envelope versus Intel’s Atom processor. While the Atom peaks at 2.5 watts, the Nano’s lowest consuming chip draws 5 watts at max. The Nano’s power consumption may not win over many users, but the processor’s performance may provide two to three times the performance of a comparable Atom processor. Intel’s Atom processor uses a simplistic in-order execution, while the Nano utilizes a sophisticated out-of-order design. The Nano features “high-speed, low power” 800 MHz front side bus, two 64 KB L1 caches, and 1 MB exclusive L2 cache that provides a boost to multimedia performance. The Nano will be available in two flavors, L-series and U-series. The L-series is geared towards desktops and mobile PC systems, while the U-series is targeting small-form-factor desktops and ultra mobile devices.
The Nano processor is currently available to OEMs and motherboard manufacturers. No pricing information was disclosed at launch.