Thursday, May 29th 2008

VIA Launches VIA Nano Processor Family

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the new VIA Nano processor family based on the VIA Isaiah Architecture. Building on the market-leading energy efficiency of the VIA C7 processor family, the VIA Nano processor family offers as much as four times the performance within the same power range to extend VIA's performance per watt leadership, while pin compatibility with VIA C7 processors will ensure a smooth transition for OEMs and motherboard vendors, and provides them with an easy upgrade path for current system or board designs.


The first 64-bit, superscalar, speculative out-of-order processors in VIA's x86 platform portfolio, VIA Nano processors have been specifically designed to revitalize traditional desktop and notebook PC markets, delivering truly optimized performance for the most demanding computing, entertainment and connectivity applications, including Blu-ray Disc HD video playback and the latest PC games, such as Crysis.

The VIA Nano processor family leverages Fujitsu's advanced 65 nanometer process technology for enhanced power efficiency, and augments that with aggressive power and thermal management features within the compact 21mm x 21mm nanoBGA2 package for an idle power as low as 100mW (0.1W), extending the reach of power efficient green and silent PCs, thin and light notebooks and mini-notes around the world.

"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."

VIA's 'nano' association also extends to VIA's signature silicon and platform design characteristics of power efficiency and form factor size reduction, as demonstrated by VIA's ultra compact Nano-ITX boards and the nanoBGA2 processor packaging used for the current VIA C7 processor family and the first generation of VIA Nano processors.

About the VIA Nano Processor Family
Initially to be launched in two skus, the VIA Nano L-series processors for mainstream desktop and mobile PC systems and the ultra low voltage U-series for small form factor desktop and ultra mobile devices such as mini-notes:



The VIA Nano processor family boasts the highly efficient VIA V4 bus interface and brings a host of technology firsts to VIA's processor platform line-up, including:
  • 64-bit Superscalar Speculative Out-Of-Order MicroArchitecture: Supports a full 64-bit instruction set and provides for macro-fusion and micro-fusion functionality, and sophisticated branch prediction for greater processor efficiency and performance.
  • High-Performance Computation and Media Processing: The high-speed, low power VIA V4 Front Side Bus starting at 800MHz, plus a high floating point unit, support for new SSE instructions, and two 64KB L1 caches and 1MB exclusive L2 cache with 16-way associativity gives a big boost to multimedia performance.
  • Advanced Power and Thermal Management: Aggressive management of active power includes support for the new "C6" power state, Adaptive PowerSaver Technology, new circuit techniques and mechanisms for managing the die temperature, reducing power draw and improving thermal management.
  • Scalable Upgrade to VIA C7 Processor: Pin-to-pin compatibility with current VIA C7 processors enables a smooth transition for OEMs and mainboard vendors, enabling them to offer a wider range of products for different markets with a single board or system design.
  • Greener Technology: In addition to full compliance with RoHS and WEEE regulations, product manufacturing will be halogen-free and lead-free at launch, helping to promote a cleaner environment and more sustainable computing.
  • Enhanced VIA PadLock Security Engine: Industry-leading on-die hardware cryptographic acceleration and security features, including dual quantum random number generators, an AES Encryption Engine, NX-bit, and SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing.
VIA Nano Processor Availability
VIA Nano processors are available now for OEMs and motherboard vendors, while systems featuring VIA Nano processors are expected to market in Q3 2008.Source: VIA
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29 Comments on VIA Launches VIA Nano Processor Family

#1
Mussels
Moderprator
Its a pity these things cost so much, i'd love to pay $200 for one of thse and a mobo combined on standard ATX hardware (they're always ITX, with only one PCI slot)

To be honest i doubt these can run crysis like the first paragraph states, however.
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#2
lemonadesoda
Funny. VIA has used processor names C3, C7 and now "nano" because it sounds more sexy like Intels "atom". Its rather confusing really, since the "nano-" moniker has been used for a long time on SFF systems. It sounds like it should be smaller, but is, in fact the same size/pinout as C7.

BTW those power ratings (above 1.3Ghz) are seriously HIGH. No more passive cooling for VIA. The processor is not scaling well. Something wrong with the design. Too much power leakage at high frequencies. Odd.
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#3
Hayder_Master
that is the last think i expect :roll: :laugh:
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#4
Rebo&Zooty
by a few early reviews i saw months ago, these things should rock.

as to finding atx, you can if you look hard find matx boards with the c7 and im sure the nano will hit them as well.

as to scaling, i would guess that will get better as they refine making the chips, just as amd and intel chips get better as they mature.

and yes, this chip should be capable of playing crysis at low or medium as well as any low range amd or singel core intel chip, by reports its close to the same effincy per clock as intels chips.....cant wait to see some good reviews of these (hope wizzard can test one)
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#5
ShadowFold
For non-gamers these should be great! I hope they are relatively cheap so im not tempted to grab an X2 or Core2 instead.
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#7
Mussels
Moderprator
1.6GHz at 17W vs 1.8GHz at 25W does indicate they dont scale very well. a 50% increase for 200Mhz isnt worth that.

the 1.6 is still pretty good, as long as it handles HD media it will definately find a home in many a HTPC.
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#8
Rebo&Zooty
there are also early indocations that your gonna see dualcore versions in the future ;)
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#9
Mussels
Moderprator
games aside, lots of other things work well with threading now, especially HD media codecs. A dual core 1.3GHz @ 16W isnt nearly as unimpressive as a single core 1.6@ 17W
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#10
Luke
i want one for a media pc except the 1.8 looks like it is using way to much power
i wonder if they can handle HD media
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#11
Rebo&Zooty
i would say the lowist one will handle hd media fine since my 1gz duron with pc133 and a 32mb gf2gts can playback h264 720p video with aac audio without any hickups.
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#12
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Rebo&Zooty
i would say the lowist one will handle hd media fine since my 1gz duron with pc133 and a 32mb gf2gts can playback h264 720p video with aac audio without any hickups.
i'm curious how you can manage that. Even with coreAVC, a sempron 2400+ i used used 70% CPU usage on a file with similar specs.
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#13
Rebo&Zooty
duno m8, i found it was more dependant on having a card with enought onboard memory then it was about the cpu, and i use coreAVC and FFDShow (after they updated it so its on par with coreavc for cpu use)

as to the audio decoder, coreaac works better then ffdshow aac(lower cpu use, better quility)

a 4-8-16mb videoram arent enought, you need a 32mb card or better, the via onboard SHOULD be fine since they have been reviewed to have decent video acceleration.
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#14
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Rebo&Zooty
duno m8, i found it was more dependant on having a card with enought onboard memory then it was about the cpu, and i use coreAVC and FFDShow (after they updated it so its on par with coreavc for cpu use)

as to the audio decoder, coreaac works better then ffdshow aac(lower cpu use, better quility)

a 4-8-16mb videoram arent enought, you need a 32mb card or better, the via onboard SHOULD be fine since they have been reviewed to have decent video acceleration.
i ran it with a 32MB Geforce 3 and had no issues on the sempron rig. I didnt think that the video card would contribute anything to a software based codec... perhaps i was wrong there. (my 2GHz P4 system uses a 64MB radeon 9250)
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#16
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Rebo&Zooty
frame buffer!!!!!!
lettuce see your genius then.

P3 1GHz laptop, DX6 capable video card with 16MB ram. I can make them play with coreAVC, audio is fine but the video lags like hell (2-5FPS)

Advise me on how to make it faster :D


ALso :nutkick: to us for going offtopic.
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#17
Haytch
Under 10w is more then ideal for basic usage. Ill be picking something up, not sure yet, but something towards the lower end range of the scale, aiming for efficiency over power.
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#18
MrMilli
by: lemonadesoda
Funny. VIA has used processor names C3, C7 and now "nano" because it sounds more sexy like Intels "atom". Its rather confusing really, since the "nano-" moniker has been used for a long time on SFF systems. It sounds like it should be smaller, but is, in fact the same size/pinout as C7.

BTW those power ratings (above 1.3Ghz) are seriously HIGH. No more passive cooling for VIA. The processor is not scaling well. Something wrong with the design. Too much power leakage at high frequencies. Odd.
What do you mean with 'no more passive cooling'?
Current C7 1Ghz cpu's are cooled passively and are rated at 5W. Since the Nano U2300 is also rated at 5W, I don't see no reason why this can't be cooled passively.
You can expect the U2300 to be faster than an Atom 1.6Ghz cpu.
Posted on Reply
#19
Rebo&Zooty
by: Mussels
lettuce see your genius then.

P3 1GHz laptop, DX6 capable video card with 16MB ram. I can make them play with coreAVC, audio is fine but the video lags like hell (2-5FPS)

Advise me on how to make it faster :D


ALso :nutkick: to us for going offtopic.
as i said, 16mb was to little for me.

also is it the latist coreavc pro?

if not also try ffdshow's current version, free-codecs.com is easyist place to get the up to date version.
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#21
FatForester
by: MrMilli
What do you mean with 'no more passive cooling'?
Current C7 1Ghz cpu's are cooled passively and are rated at 5W. Since the Nano U2300 is also rated at 5W, I don't see no reason why this can't be cooled passively.
You can expect the U2300 to be faster than an Atom 1.6Ghz cpu.
Lemonade was pointing out the efficiency (or lack there of) when it gets faster than 1.3ghz. The lower speeds should be just fine, but needing 50% more energy to increase the speeds by 12% is not a good sign. Passive cooling is still easily possible, but it wouldn't be practical for an ITX form factor.
Posted on Reply
#22
Mussels
Moderprator
the 1.8GHz model is very, very poor power to clocks, compared to the others. The efficiency starts to run away atfter the 1.3GHz model.

I want to see more large busineses that only do word processing use these - the reduction of heat means a reduction on air conditioning, which means very larger overall power savings. (i'm slowly going green, cant help it.)
Posted on Reply
#23
MrMilli
A couple of things that you should keep in mind is that most people are mixing up the two Atom models:
Silverthorne - MID's only - 13mm x 14mm package - single chip Paulsbo chipset
Diamondville - mini-ITX & Notebooks (4W at 1.6Ghz) - 22mm x 22mm package - 945GC Chipset (20W)
Via Nano - Flexible design chose - 21mm x 21mm package - single chip VX800 (5W)

If you would compare platforms:
L2200 + VX800 = 22W total max
N230 + 945GC + ICH7 = 24W total max

Updated: VX800U uses only 3.5W but it's slower!

Via also allows much more flexibility in the design (no restrictions).
At present, Intel states that manufacturers cannot use its Atom processors in portable systems with a screen size of over 10 inches. Intel hopes that such a restriction will prevent Atom from infringing on its Core 2 mobile market.
Intel also only allows Atom processors to be used with mini-ITX motherboards which feature no PCI Express expansion slots and include only a single DIMM slot.

Even my platform comparison isn't fair since a L2200 will be much faster than a N230.
An U2400 (1.3Ghz) will be fast enough and that one is rated 8W (13W for platform).



You should keep in mind that Diamondville has Hyperthreading and because of that, it's result in synthetic SMT-aware benchmarks (like CrystalMark) are inflated. Real life performance will be lower because in real life Hyperthreading is less efficient.
Posted on Reply
#24
Rebo&Zooty
by: MrMilli
A couple of things that you should keep in mind is that most people are mixing up the two Atom models:
Silverthorne - MID's only - 13mm x 14mm package - single chip Paulsbo chipset
Diamondville - mini-ITX & Notebooks (4W at 1.6Ghz) - 22mm x 22mm package - 945GC Chipset (20W)
Via Nano - Flexible design chose - 21mm x 21mm package - single chip VX800 (5W)

If you would compare platforms:
L2200 + VX800 = 22W total max
N230 + 945GC + ICH7 = 24W total max

Via also allows much more flexibility in the design (no restrictions).
At present, Intel states that manufacturers cannot use its Atom processors in portable systems with a screen size of over 10 inches. Intel hopes that such a restriction will prevent Atom from infringing on its Core 2 mobile market.
Intel also only allows Atom processors to be used with mini-ITX motherboards which feature no PCI Express expansion slots and include only a single DIMM slot.

Even my platform comparison isn't fair since a L2200 will be much faster than a N230.
An U2400 (1.3Ghz) will be fast enough and that one is rated 8W (13W for platform).



You should keep in mind that Diamondville has Hyperthreading and because of that, it's result in synthetic SMT-aware benchmarks (like CrystalMark) are inflated. Real life performance will be lower because in real life Hyperthreading is less efficient.
nice find, and yeah, i would go with the via, my experiance with thier native platforms shows them to be rock solid little buggers with low power requierments and plenty of power to do what they need to :)
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#25
Mussels
Moderprator
i've always had bad luck with via chipset motherboards (nearly always driver related) but these low power systems do intruige... 99% of the time, i use my main big rig simply for anime. I'd love to get a media capable PC for ultra low power use, with blu ray capabilities (a standalone player cant do it, as i also have a crapload of avi/MKV files)

I guess my next build, will be a pure media system with native HDMI... hehe. and i will definately be looking at these via's as a base - that chart showed isaiah, is that the nano? or is the nano even faster again (they mention 4x faster in the press release)
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