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VIA announces new Nano chip

VIA announces new Nano chip

VIA's new Nano 3000 range offers almost a fifty percent speed boost over Intel's popular N270 netbook processor.

Chip maker VIA has announced the latest revision of its low-power Nano processor in an attempt to unseat Intel's Atom chip from its position as the de-facto netbook processor.

As reported over on jkOnTheRun, the Nano 3000 - for that is its name - is a double-whammy of an improvement over its predecessor, managing to offer a 20 per cent boost in performance while increasing power efficiency by a further 20 per cent.

The processor - which will be available in a wide range of speeds - 1GHz, 1.2GHz, 1.3GHz, 1.4GHz, 1.8GHz, and 2GHz, all with an 800MHz bus speed - ticks all the boxes required of a modern chip for an ultra-portable: SSE4 support, virtualisation, full 64-bit OS support, and it's even powerful enough to decode 1080p video.

While it's nice that the new Nano is an improvement over older releases, what people really want to see is how it stacks up over Intel's popular Atom N270 - and the news isn't looking good for Intel. On a pair of popular benchmarks - PCMark 05 and 3DMark2006 - the Nano 3000 scored 43 per cent and 49 per cent higher than Intel's Atom N270.

While VIA has announced the power consumption of the chips while idle - ranging from 100mW to 500mW on the 1.8GHz and 2GHz L3050 and L3100 models - it hasn't yet provided any firm details on maximum power draw, which could be the characteristic which sees it lose out to the Atom. That said, if VIA can keep the power consumption down, Intel could have a real fight on its hands for the lucrative netbook market.

The Nano 3000 series of processors is due early next year, although VIA has yet to confirm pricing details.

Do you think it's about time that Intel got some competition in the low-power x86 marketplace, or should netbook manufacturers make the leap to ARM for real gains in battery life? Share your thoughts over in the forum.

18 Comments

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BLC 4th November 2009, 11:49 Quote
I would really like to see the maximum power draw figures - though that a pretty impressive figure for an idle power draw.

Forget about netbooks, if this lives up to it's promises it'll be ideal for HTPC builds.
proxess 4th November 2009, 11:59 Quote
If it decodes 1080p fine then yes it's a really awesome HTPC deal.
Flibblebot 4th November 2009, 12:31 Quote
Problem is, I don't think the Atom N270 Intel chipset is the combo to beat for an HTPC - the real target here would be the N330/Ion combo from nVidia. With power consumption way below Intel's chipset and the ability to decode 1080p using CUDA, it's a much better HTPC offering than Intel's Atom offerings.
TomH 4th November 2009, 12:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Problem is, I don't think the Atom N270 Intel chipset is the combo to beat for an HTPC - the real target here would be the N330/Ion combo from nVidia. With power consumption way below Intel's chipset and the ability to decode 1080p using CUDA, it's a much better HTPC offering than Intel's Atom offerings.
In all fairness, these benchmarks were designed to highlight the CPU vs. CPU performance. What it highlights is that potentially these new Via chips will be an even better companion for Ion than the Atom line.

<unsure> Nvidia themselves have said Ion 2 won't be an Intel solution, haven't they? </unsure>
l3v1ck 4th November 2009, 12:56 Quote
I'm always amazed how few Nano powered netbooks there are in the shops. If I was going to buy a netbook, I'd make sure I bought a Nano.
l3v1ck 4th November 2009, 13:03 Quote
Now here's a question: Which is more powerful, a mobile Athlon 64 3200+ (clawhammer 2.0ghz with 1mb L2 cache) or the new 2.0 ghz Nano?
I find my Athlon laptop powerful enough for my needs, but power efficiency isn't one of its strong points. Rather than just netbooks, would these new Nano's be good enough for full size budget laptops? And when can we expect dual core Nano's?
l3v1ck 4th November 2009, 13:11 Quote
Quote:
Do you think it's about time that Intel got some competition in the low-power x86 marketplace, or should netbook manufacturers make the leap to ARM for real gains in battery life?
Not unless Microsoft release a ARM version of Windows 7 Starter edition.
eek 4th November 2009, 13:16 Quote
I think that a mobile Althon 64 will probably perform slightly faster, but depending on what you want to use your budget laptop for Ithink both would perform equally and it'd be hard to tell the difference under everyday use.

I use my netbook (atom based) for internet, films, office (word, excel, outlook mainly) and poker and it is more than capable. The other half runs a celeron based laptop and I would use the atom in preference. Assuming your usage isn't much more intensive, the new nano would be even better.
pizan 4th November 2009, 13:52 Quote
Isn't the ION2 planned for this chip?
l3v1ck 4th November 2009, 16:33 Quote
Are these things still built on 65nm or are we getting a die shrink?
Icy EyeG 4th November 2009, 17:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Isn't the ION2 planned for this chip?

I sure hope so... ION+Nano would be my next netbook.
HourBeforeDawn 4th November 2009, 19:59 Quote
maybe this is the CPU that will be used with the whole ION2 that nVidia was talking about???
AshT 8th November 2009, 13:38 Quote
At last, 1080p. All I want now is for whatever device uses the chip to be HDMI out and that's my movie collection sorted for hotel visits.
Flibblebot 8th November 2009, 16:23 Quote
N330-based ION board already handle 1080p fine, and have HDMI ports too.
AshT 8th November 2009, 18:26 Quote
Flibblebot, do you know if the board is used in a netbook already?
Flibblebot 9th November 2009, 11:03 Quote
I think several laptop brands have announced ION netbooks, including Samsung & Lenovo. Asus are also bringing out an N330/ION Eee PC (model 1201N)

They're all on the horizon, due to land within the next couple of months, according to rumours.
AshT 9th November 2009, 18:42 Quote
Ah I thought you were hinting a product was available to go now. I got a spam mail from Creative the other day on that Zii product they are pushing, apparently 1080p and HDMI out and the size of an iPhone or thereabouts ... must read it when I find the time!
Cthippo 10th November 2009, 22:47 Quote
Any word on if they're going to do mini-ITX boards on this? I just ordered a Via PC 3500 board for my (nearly) silent fileserver project, but I'm already looking at an upgrade path.
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