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VIA launches Nano processor

VIA launches  Nano processor

How the VIA Nano core is laid out.

VIA has launched a new Nano processor as part of the new EPIA-SN mini-itx platform and promises a revolutionary jump in performance compared to previous VIA CPUs.

The Nano, formerly codenamed Isaiah, features a x86-64-bit superscalar design and is built on a 65nm process technology between TSMC and Fujitsu. This technology is further complemented by the fact the entire design is completely lead and halogen-free and is fully compliant with RoHS and WEEE regulations.

The NanoBGA2 package is just 63.3mm square and is pin-compatible with previous C7 CPUs, so mini-ITX EPIA boards can be easily interchanged at the manufacturing level, in addition to a simple BIOS update. Unfortunately, these are still hard-soldered to the board so there's no at-home upgrading still, sorry.

Other features include an 800MHz V4 FSB, the SSE instruction set, 64k L1 data and instruction cache and 1MB of 16-way associative L2 cache in its single core design. However the biggest performance increase is in the fact this is VIA's first processor with out of order issue and execution - something Intel has touted since the Pentium Pro, yet has removed for its Atom.

VIA has also introduced a new "C6" low power state (higher "C" numbers mean lower sleep states) cunningly branded Adaptive PowerSaver Technology. Finally VIA PadLock Security Engine is an on-die hardware cryptographic acceleration feature including dual quantum random number generators, AES encryption engine, SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing and the standard NX-bit. We were told by VIA that this feature is apparently very popular in industry.

VIA launches  Nano processor VIA launches its Nano processor

It's worth remembering that the Atom isn't directly comparable to the Nano L2100 - at 25W is Nano dwarfs the Atom's power use of 8W - you'd need to drop down to a 1.3GHz U2350 to match it here. In addition - the new VIA CN896 single chipset supports PCI-Express and four SATA , whereas the Atom platform is completely locked down to use Intel 945G northbridge and ICH7 southbridge which only features a pair of SATA and no PCI-Express.

However the platform costs are just as epically different - you can currently pick up an old C7 based VIA EPIA-SN for a wallet busting £160, whereas an Atom mini-ITX board can be found for the price of two pints of lager and a chicken curry.

Well be testing them both in addition to AMD's lowest power offering - all on mini-ITX - to understand what they are designed for and where their performance stops and where they overlap.

Are you still all wrapped up in Atomic love or have you just ignited a new flame for Nano's too? Let us know your thoughts, in the forums.

19 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Jack_Pepsi 31st July 2008, 10:21 Quote
The fact the chipset supports a single PCIe x16 alone puts it ahead of the Atom for me. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Atom boards appearing with one in the not so distant future mind.
jokkos 31st July 2008, 10:27 Quote
I'm very, very interested in this new VIA cpu. Can't wait to see some tests!
jokkos 31st July 2008, 10:50 Quote
yup I found them as well :-) Thanks anyway Rexxie. Seems very promising.
Bindibadgi 31st July 2008, 10:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack_Pepsi
The fact the chipset supports a single PCIe x16 alone puts it ahead of the Atom for me. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Atom boards appearing with one in the not so distant future mind.

No you won't - Intel has locked the Atom CPU to the 945 chipset that has had it's PCI-Express specifically removed. If you want PCI-Express you should buy a Celeron.

I would have had the VIA Nano and Atom tested for today, but our VIA board was DOA :(
bowman 31st July 2008, 10:57 Quote
Currently none of them interest me, the Atom needs an aging NB/SB combo that restricts it to oversized pocket PCs and Eee style laptops. The way the platform is implemented currently it actually competes with Nano, and it strikes me more as a proof of concept.

Call me when Moorestown arrives and the MIDs really are small and pocketable rather than fat, heavy, bloated devices! :)
eek 31st July 2008, 11:29 Quote
Quote:
two pints of larger and a chicken curry
I'm guessing Cobra hasn't been rebranded to Larger and this is a typo :)
Timmy_the_tortoise 31st July 2008, 11:34 Quote
If I ever need a SUPER low power, SUPER compact PC (perhaps for in a car).. I'd probably consider these chips..
Bindibadgi 31st July 2008, 11:34 Quote
It's my own special brew, eek
seveneleven 31st July 2008, 13:04 Quote
What does the "+" stand for behind the frequency of the U2400?
Timmy_the_tortoise 31st July 2008, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by seveneleven
What does the "+" stand for behind the frequency of the U2400?

I assume it means that it's available at higher frequencies..
Solidus 31st July 2008, 13:16 Quote
everytime i see your name timmy, it makes me smile.......sorry...i thought i would put that out there..
Timmy_the_tortoise 31st July 2008, 13:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidus
everytime i see your name timmy, it makes me smile.......sorry...i thought i would put that out there..

Glad you did.. It's a play on a NOFX song called Timmy the Turtle.
Cupboard 31st July 2008, 16:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidus
everytime i see your name timmy, it makes me smile.......sorry...i thought i would put that out there..

:D me too!

The jump in power consumption between the top two and the rest of the pack is huge! Still, I hope this is as good as it is supposed to be. How do the different speeds compare to "normal" chips?
Icy EyeG 1st August 2008, 01:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by News Article
and no PCI-Express
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
No you won't - Intel has locked the Atom CPU to the 945 chipset that has had it's PCI-Express specifically removed. If you want PCI-Express you should buy a Celeron.

Are you sure?? How about ECS 945GCT-D?
Gravemind123 1st August 2008, 03:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Are you sure?? How about ECS 945GCT-D?

It could be that they are using one of the Southbridge PCI-Express lanes to do that, if I remember correctly ICH7 has 6 PCI-Express x1 links in the chipset.(maybe it was 4, I can't remember).
Bindibadgi 1st August 2008, 09:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Are you sure?? How about ECS 945GCT-D?

OK, I meant to say the 945 chipset has been stripped of its x16 lanes, but the (butchered) ICH7 has a couple of x1s though iirc
Gravemind123 2nd August 2008, 02:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
OK, I meant to say the 945 chipset has been stripped of its x16 lanes, but the (butchered) ICH7 has a couple of x1s though iirc

What did they remove from the ICH7 for the Atom platform?
Bindibadgi 2nd August 2008, 11:48 Quote
I can't remember specifically I'd have to spend time looking it up, but it's a mobile ICH7 to make it super-low power.
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