Report: VIA Working on a New x86 Chip

If you haven't forgotten, you probably know that VIA still has access to an x86 license. Although they haven't made many x86 processors in recent years, the company is now working on a new unit.

A report which originates from tells us that VIA is working on its Isaiah II processor, which it hopes to announce before the end of August. The processor will be a low-power unit, where it is meant to compete with the low-power bay-trail platform from Intel as well as AMD's Kabini platform. No details are available of the units' TDP, though.

The Isaiah II CPU will come with four CPU cores that will run at 2.0 GHz. On-die there will also be 2 MB of L2 cache.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProcessorAMD Athlon 5350Intel Atom Z3770VIA Isaiah II
Frequency2.05 GHz1.46-2.39 GHz2.0 GHz
Core Count4 Cores4 Cores4 Cores
TDP25 watt TDP2 watt SDP? watt
Processor Arithmetic22.66 GOPS15.1 GOPS20.0 GOPS
Multimedia Processor4.56 Mpix/s25.9 Mpix/s50.2 Mpix/s
Multi-Core Efficiency4 GB/s1.7 GB/s3.1 GB/s
Cryptography1.48 GB/s0.4 GB/s1.5 GB/s
Power Management Efficiency (ALU)2.88 GIPS2.5 GIPS2.9 GIPS
Financial Analysis (high/double precision)3.64 kOPTS1.5 kOPTS3.0 kOPTS

The two remaining bits of information that we are still missing pertain to the processor's TDP and price. Those aspects can mean the difference between this CPU will become a viable option for some people. It is interesting, though, to see VIA playing a role in the x86 market again.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • nvllsvm
    From past experiences with VIA: ahahahahaha!
  • Ian Mahaney
    Completely forgot about VIA having an x86 license. If that TDP can stay under 10W though, they could have a real Intel beater here.
    New competition is always a good thing.
  • apache_lives
    With VIA cpus comes rubbish VIA chipsets and drivers, and there late as usual and trying to produce something that doesnt offer ANY advantage over the competition

  • allenpan
    actually VIA's Nano (Isaiah I) was very competitive with N270/N455/...etc right before the current generation of atom
  • CaedenV
    When I was a kid I loved having access to great quality cheap VIA chipsets for my computer builds... but then that quality disappeared. Then VIA started making chips used in junk laptops, and their name became absolutely toxic. I understand that VIA still makes quite a few chips in a great many products... but few companies have gone from having as much respect to as much distain as VIA has. I wish them well, but it is going to take a long time of a good track record before I buy one of their products.
  • IInuyasha74
    Via used to be a very big name in motherboard chipsets. They still make USB controllers, sound card chipsets, and other chipsets. They aren't super high end units, but their stuff is usually quite cheap and gets the job done.

    For their CPUs, they chose to focus on a niche market years ago, and some people have bad feelings about them from that, but their units were meant for integrated solutions for special devices not general computing, and they can't help some bad computers were made with their CPUs.

    Like Ian said above, if they can give that kind of performance for around 5w TDP, and scale it up to a max of 25w like AMD's high end kabini chips then they could be a very viable option for making tablets and possible phones based SoCs and laptops.
  • ta152h
    The buffoons are Tom's once again screw up something mentioning Kabini. Guys, give it up, you're not smart enough to talk about the subject. How about sticking to games and stuff you can understand? It's really irritating to have uninformed buffoons always denigrating the Jaguar/Puma architecture with their rabid incompetence.

    I'll give you a hint, the Kabini 5350's Multimedia performance was 47.56. Guess you missed that by more than an order of magnitude, huh? It didn't look strange to you? Didn't think to double check it? The editor that read it after didn't either? Again, you buffoons are smart enough to write about this stuff. How about talking about a joystick or something?

    Also, to clarify on VIA's x86 processors, they are actually an American team known as Centaur. They bought this company from another company that owned Centaur (IDT). They have always been in the business of making low cost processors that performed 'good enough', but keeping things very simple. They got more complex, and then AMD opened the boom on them with Bobcat, and now Jaguar. They've become irrelevant. Also, they announce products for years before they finally realize they aren't going to make it. That's an exaggeration, but not much of one. Don't waste your time waiting for their announced products, especially chipsets, because the are either very late, or never come out.

    One more thing to mention is, Kabini is now old hat for AMD. The numbers Tom's published, without making much mention of it, were supplied by VIA, and are comparing a processor over a year old, with one not currently available. The dolts at Tom's didn't figure it might be worth mentioning the Puma performs much better at low wattages, and it's available now. The fastest Puma outperforms the Kabini here by a good amount(mainly because of having a 'turbo' mode, while still coming in at a 15 watt TDP. Not that doubling the performance per watt would matter much, or be worth mentioning, right Tom's? At lower wattage, the performance per watt is even more exaggerated in favor of Puma, but that's not relevant to this article.
  • silverblue
    The Isaiah II may bring Kabini's integer processing grunt along with Bay Trail's floating point power, making for a balanced chip. The addition of AVX2 is also very interesting, but will they opt for 256-bit registers or an AMD-style 2x128?

    I'm more curious as to the process node they'll be using; VIA has historically trailed here and by more of a gap than AMD. In addition, there's no mention of an iGPU, integrated north/southbridges or memory support.

    (apologies if this is a double-post)
  • memadmax
    I suddenly got this big flashback to the 90's...

    I was happy for a few minutes then reality kicked back in...

  • velocityg4
    It would be epic if they brought back the x86 name. I suppose now it would be somewhere between 986 and 1286. I might just have to buy some cheap low end PC if it was a 1286 DX.