Monday, April 20th 2009

OLPC Selects VIA for Gen 1.5 XO-1 Laptops

Last Friday, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization announced that it is leaving Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) as main processor partner in favour of VIA Technologies. This is a step that will lower the price of OLPC's laptop further. From this point on VIA's C7-M processor instead of AMD's Geode will power OLPC's XO-1 laptops. The processor will be a VIA C7-M, with plans on using one whose clock speed ranges from 400 MHz (1.5 W) to 1 GHz (5 W). The clock may be throttled back automatically if necessary to meet thermal constraints. Gen 1.5 XO-1 laptop will come with the VIA VX855 all-in-one chipset solution, as well as with an updated HD Audio sound. The upgraded XO laptops will also include 1 GB of RAM and between 4 GB and 8 GB of storage, which is considerably more than the currently existing XO systems with 256 MB RAM and 1 GB of storage. There are two more changes being made, the network interface will be upgraded to an 88W8686 with wake-up functions, which halves the power consumption of current XO-1 network adapter, and a new OLPC OS 8.2.x will be installed to support all the hardware variations. Overall, the Gen 1.5 XO-1 laptop will remain the same from the outside - same display, same form, same power consumption, probably the same price - but come with upgraded internals.
Early versions of the hardware (bare board) should be available for driver development at the end of May. A larger number of prototype laptops (several hundred) for software development and testing will become available around the end of August. It's unclear when children will get their hands on the final product, though.Source: OLPC
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