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VIA Nano 3000 to Fight Intel's Next Atoms

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

In the netbook space, Intel has a stranglehold on the low-power CPU choice with the Atom.

But it's not the only game in town. VIA since last year has offered the Nano CPU as an alternative, though it's not quite as energy miserly (but does come with more muscle).

Thus far, the Atom's been the processor of choice, but VIA today announced a new Nano that could change things. Now bumped up to the Nano 3000 Series processors, VIA's latest offering is based on the 64-bit superscalar ‘Isaiah’ architecture, which boasts flawless playback of high bit-rate 1080p HD video.

The VIA Nano 3000 also supports CPU virtualization technology, SSE4, and security capabilities integrated in the VIA PadLock Security Engine.

“With the VIA Nano 3000 Series, we are launching our fastest and most power-efficient processors yet,” commented Richard Brown, VP International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “Coupled with our market-leading digital media chipsets, they enable the richest experience across a broad range of mobile and all-in-one system designs.”

Available at speeds from 1 GHz to 2 GHz, Nano 3000 Series processors deliver up to 20 percent higher performance using up to 20 percent less power than current Nano processors.

The Nano 3000 Series processors should be easy to integrate into designs that already use the NanoBGA2 package, making them pin-to-pin compatible with a host of VIA processors, including the Nano 1000, Nano 2000, C7, C7-M and Eden.

VIA Nano 3000 Series processor samples are currently available for OEMs and motherboard vendors, and will enter mass production in Q1 2010. Hopefully we'll see some designs at CES 2010.

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  • 13 Hide
    cyberkuberiah , November 3, 2009 5:11 PM
    if it can playback 1080p by itself without Ion , it could help in cheaper netbooks , the instruction set is vast and rich.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    cyberkuberiah , November 3, 2009 5:11 PM
    if it can playback 1080p by itself without Ion , it could help in cheaper netbooks , the instruction set is vast and rich.
  • 9 Hide
    tipoo , November 3, 2009 5:18 PM
    zingamMonocore atom CPU are suitable only to browse the web or watch youtube "while you make the toilet"... :]

    Making a toilet requires alot of concentration. Using one however...
  • 6 Hide
    hellwig , November 3, 2009 5:46 PM
    I like Via. My netbook is running a C7 (and linux, so lack of power isn't a big concern). When they introduced the Nano I was hoping for a decent selection of new netbooks, but I guess Intel's weaker, but cheaper, Atom was too big of a draw. Of course, my next portable will probably be a more fully-featured laptop, perhaps this new Nano will get me close enough, assuming Intel doesn't just buy off more OEMs. Oops, sorry, according to Tuan, those are market incentives, not payoffs.
  • 1 Hide
    pbrigido , November 3, 2009 5:47 PM
    Considering the Atom has to rely on Nvidia's Ion to crunch out 1080P, having a SOC that may be able to perform the function of the Atom and Ion is actually impressive...especially from Via.
  • -4 Hide
    rooket , November 3, 2009 6:08 PM
    Via? lol why'd I even click on this article. If AMD stepped up to the plate, things would be interesting. Still, competition is good.
  • 4 Hide
    gsacks , November 3, 2009 6:11 PM
    Via (and Cyrix before them) have always promised big and delivered meh in the CPU arena. Same goes for the S3 video that accompanies most Via cpus. I had an Via epia motherboard, and it was underwhelming to say the least. I hope they can come through this time. I like pulling for the underdog. But I'll believe it when I see it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 3, 2009 6:21 PM
    well,it seems they would utterly lose if they don't have a graphics chip integrated on the CPU!

    They are going to try to beat the Intel 2chip solution with a VIA 3 chip solition?
  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , November 3, 2009 7:13 PM
    A little late, but better late than never. It's a shame that VIA hasn't put much into S3 lately. I mean really even the latest chromes they pair with it only have like 4 ROPs and 32 unified shaders. Of course, its still miles better than IGP they pair with the Atom :D .
  • -1 Hide
    Ehsan w , November 3, 2009 8:42 PM
    rooketVia? lol why'd I even click on this article. If AMD stepped up to the plate, things would be interesting. Still, competition is good.


    I don't think AMD has too much money to get into anything else right now....
  • 3 Hide
    matt87_50 , November 3, 2009 9:12 PM
    cool! go competition!
  • -1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , November 3, 2009 9:36 PM
    oh VIA how you bring back memorys of my old Pentium D space heater
  • 2 Hide
    juliom , November 3, 2009 9:59 PM
    IzzyCraftoh VIA how you bring back memorys of my old Pentium D space heater


    Can't see why it does... Nano is actually a pretty good CPU for it's market.
  • 0 Hide
    ta152h , November 4, 2009 2:23 AM
    juliomCan't see why it does... Nano is actually a pretty good CPU for it's market.


    The problem is, what is the market? I got a fanless one, that ran at 800 MHz, and found my 400 MHz, underclocked K6-III+ outperformed it, and ran cooler.

    Atom blows it away on low power benchmarks, and once you start moving up, you're often better off with an underclocked Celeron or Pentium based on the Core 2, as you get much better bang for the watt. They're products simply had no real market. They used too much power to compete with Atom well, and you'd have to clock them so low to reach Atom power levels, they couldn't compete in performance. But, once you start getting into where they could beat the Atom, then there was Intel's Core 2 line.

    Considering Via is probably exaggerating, as companies always do, it's not clear if this will help them enough. They aren't that far off, so if they got 20% performance and 20% lower power use, they'd be very competitive, but it's probably 5% performance on most benchmarks, and 15% lower power. I don't think Centaur did enough. If it's just a revision, it's still impression. But, if this is their move to 45nm, it's a disappointment. Also, consider they still don't have a DX10 chipset.

    On the plus side, the idle draw is down to 100mw, and the ultra low power version is 1.4 GHz instead of 1.3 GHz, so it's progress. But, Atom is improving soon, too. So, we'll have to see. I've always pulled for Centaur since their original Winchips, and thought they had a great idea and would be successful. So far, though, I've been nothing but wrong.
  • -1 Hide
    Kelavarus , November 4, 2009 3:53 AM
    AMD already has an offering, the Athlon Neo.

    Not sure why it hasn't had an article or anything...

    And wth? I'm running one of the Celeron 900 mhz and 1 GB RAM, with Linux Mint, and it's dying. So far I really haven't made ANY OS work decent on here. Irritating.
  • 0 Hide
    wildwell , November 4, 2009 4:00 AM
    How does this new Nano's power efficiency compare to the Atom's?
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , November 4, 2009 5:11 AM
    I'd rather have a ULV C2D or a upcoming i3 (dual core with a GPU) on a small lightweight notebook honestly...
  • 0 Hide
    eccentric909 , November 4, 2009 12:39 PM
    KelavarusAMD already has an offering, the Athlon Neo. Not sure why it hasn't had an article or anything...And wth? I'm running one of the Celeron 900 mhz and 1 GB RAM, with Linux Mint, and it's dying. So far I really haven't made ANY OS work decent on here. Irritating.


    Toms did do an article on the AMD Athlon Neo, or rather the AMD Congo platform:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AMD-congo-Ultrathin-Mobile-Platform,8634.html