Report: Via readying dual-core Atom rival

Via Technologies is reportedly joining other chip suppliers in readying a dual-core processor that will compete with Intel's Atom.

Updated on January 6 at 11:20 a.m. PST with correction about Nano 3000.

Dual-core Intel Atom rivals are in the works.

Via Nano procesor
Via Nano procesor Via Technologies

Via Technologies is planning a very low-power, dual-core Nano 3000 processor, according to Chinese-language Web site HKEPC.

Via's C7-M processor is used in Hewlett-Packard's 2133 Mini-Note, which preceded the crop of Netbooks based on the Atom CPU. Via processors, however, were subsequently eclipsed by Intel's Atom.

Advanced Micro Devices will target its low-power dual-core "Conesus" at the laptop market segment above Atom's Netbook-centric space.

Meanwhile, Freescale Semiconductor has indicated that it will bring out a very-low-power ARM chip that features a dual-core graphics engine targeted at Netbook-like laptops.

All of these developments indicate that the market for ultra-small devices and laptops should heat up in 2009.

Intel currently offers the dual-core Atom 330 that is targeted at Nettops--small desktop computers.

The dual-core version of the Via Nano--due in late 2009 or 2010--may use a Fujitsu 45-nanometer or TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) 40-nanometer manufacturing process, according to HKEPC. The Intel Atom is based on 45-nanometer process technology.

(Correction: the Via Nano 3000 will not be dual-core. The dual-core version of Nano will ship in the second half of 2009.)

The Via chip may also include SSE4 instruction support, HKEPC said. Generally, SSE4 (Streaming SIMD Extensions 4) instructions speed up multimedia applications.

Via is also slated to bring out other improved Nano processors in 2009, according to the report.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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