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VIA Introduces the Nano Processor

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-better-faster dept.

Portables 162

Vigile writes "While the VIA Isaiah architecture had been previously discussed, the new x86 processor is officially being released as the VIA Nano. The Nano marks VIA's first 64-bit, superscalar, speculative out-of-order CPU design and is being built on Fujitsu's 65nm process technology. While direct performance comparisons are still missing, the products being released could bring Intel's Atom platform to its knees: clock speeds as high as 1.8 GHz or as low as 1.0 GHz with a maximum power draw of only 5 watts! VIA's recently announced mini-note OpenBook platform is a likely candidate for the Nano the processors but they will likely find their way into mainstream desktop and notebook computers as well." Reader MojoKid contributes a link to HotHardware's story on the chip now known as the Nano , as well as a January interview with VIA's Centaur design center president, Glenn Henry, who "went into fairly deep detail on what VIA had in store with Isaiah."

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162 comments

Obligatory. (-1, Offtopic)

hlt32 (1177391) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586281)

But does it run Linux?

Re:Obligatory. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586489)

Not only unobligatory, but uninteresting, uninspired, and unfunny.

Re:Obligatory. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586677)

so it's insightful!

Cue Apple's lawyers (3, Insightful)

barryp (31185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586303)

How long before "Nano" gets renamed because of another electronic processing device.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (2, Funny)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586333)

I had this same thought. Imagine, though, if Apple agreed to run i[music player/phone name]s on the VIA Nano processor. I think the universe might implode!

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587411)

If that happened, the usual crowd of Apple acolytes would claim Apple owns the processor design and are more innovative on the microprocessor front than Intel or VIA is.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588791)

I had this same thought. Imagine, though, if Apple agreed to run i[music player/phone name]s on the VIA Nano processor. I think the universe might implode!

We could end up with NanoNano, at which point Robin Williams would want royalties each time the product name was spoken. That should effectively date me...

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (5, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586409)

I suspect that Isaiah was renamed Nano in response to Intel's Atom. Small 4 letter names for small cpus. (I guess). Although Isaiah was likely always intended as a non-marketing codeword, I believe someone at VIA even mentioned that before.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (3, Informative)

papna (1242200) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587951)

Incidentally, VIA has a theme among their processors/products of having Biblical codenames for things. In addition to Isaiah, Nehemiah, Eden, Ezra, Esther, and Samuel come to mind.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (2, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588367)

it's also part of the NanoITX form factor they've been working on for years. I think even before iPod had a Nano.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586425)

Well, I think there's a few devices with the word Micro in them. But if it came down to it, they could just switch to Pico.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586493)

Well, I think there's a few devices with the word Micro in them. But if it came down to it, they could just switch to Pico.
Will they be introducing a more power hungry high-end workstation or server version? I propose that they could call it 'Emacs'!

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (2, Funny)

Azar (56604) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586431)

Maybe they could get this processor could scale down small enough to fit into the Apple iPod Nano. Then Apple could get Robin Williams to be the spokesperson for it and they could advertise it as the "Nano Nano". Or maybe the "Apple Mork" [wikipedia.org] . They could even wrap it in a loud looking blue, orange, and yellow protective jacket.

Apple fans would still buy it.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586599)

no it would be wrapped in an eggshell

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586867)

I know you're joking, but ARM chips in the GHz range are drawing about 250mW, and the chips in the iPod Nano run a lot slower than this so they've got a long way to go if they want to compete in this kind of space, or even the handheld space.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587143)

I think they'd instinctively have to put two nano processors in it just for the redundancy factor. Experience the Ipod Nano Nano with dual redundant multi-processor technology! You've never seen your playlist scroll as smoothly, and we've added audio visualizations just to take advantage of this amazing technology. We've also reduced the thickness to 0.0015 inches with an impressive 3 minutes of battery life.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (1)

popeye44 (929152) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587437)

Well You stole some of my thunder... But I was thinking you could put it in a laptop with dual processors and call it the Shazbot Nano-Nano. Unfortunately.. Most of the people who remember Mork and Mindy are in their 30's or 40's now.

Not everyone gets the reference.

 

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (-1, Flamebait)

RageTroll 9000 (1261452) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586935)

You think that's funny, dickcheese? I bet you're sat there fucking creaming yourself because some dipshit mod modded you 'funny' cause you made him spray Cheeto dust all over his fifteenth fucking chin. You think you've contributed something, you've sat back in smug shit-eating satisfaction that you're some all round fucking funny guy but you're not, because you're a fucking nothing. What do you think you've contributed here, limpdick? Fuck off before I slap you in your shit-filled mouth.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587375)

"You think that's funny, dickcheese? I bet you're sat there fucking creaming yourself because some dipshit mod modded you 'funny' cause you made him spray Cheeto dust all over his fifteenth fucking chin. You think you've contributed something, you've sat back in smug shit-eating satisfaction that you're some all round fucking funny guy but you're not, because you're a fucking nothing. What do you think you've contributed here, limpdick? Fuck off before I slap you in your shit-filled mouth."

Holy Jesus.

Taco has finally lost it.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587961)

Alright, that's it. We're switching you to decaf. Now put the Jolt Cola can down and back away.

Re:Cue Apple's lawyers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587077)

They were going to name it Your Penis, but it wouldn't stand up in court.

Hey wait a moment..! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586423)

I'm buying a new chip because the old one was out-of-order!

Re:Hey wait a moment..! (1)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588195)

The Old Ones were In Order. Everything In Order and checked!

The New ones you buy Already Out-Of-Order. It saves you the trouble of breaking it yourself.

Nano? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586455)

0.065 m to 0.045 m [wikipedia.org]

(the backwards "u" mark for "micro" won't print in the actual comment link but pastes into the texr box w/ no prob. Nerds? There are nerds here? We need micrometers and math symbols!)

Re:Nano? (2, Interesting)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586751)

Slashdot encodes its pages in ISO-8859-1, which is standard for the www. In fact, according to HTTP 1.1, it is the default if no content encoding is specified. Unfortunately, ISO-8859-1 is quite limited, and does not include support for the Greek letter mu, nor the micro symbol, which look identical, but actually each have their own code in Unicode.

Re:Nano? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587507)

(Anonymously, since I don't want to lose the mod points I used)

Unfortunately, ISO-8859-1 is quite limited, and does not include support for the Greek letter mu, nor the micro symbol, which look identical, but actually each have their own code in Unicode.

You might want to check your facts [unicode.org] better, before posting. "MICRO SIGN", unicode code point 0x00B5, 0xB5 in ISO8859-1.

Really... (4, Insightful)

cartman (18204) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586519)

From the article summary:

[Nano] could bring Intel's Atom platform to its knees: clock speeds as high as 1.8 GHz or as low as 1.0 GHz with a maximum power draw of only 5 watts!


Intel's chip has a power draw of less than 2.5 watts for the highest-clocked chip. I don't see how a power draw that's twice that amount would bring Intel's atom to its knees.

Also, I don't understand this necessity for cheesy bad-action-flick terminology ("Intel's chip brought to it's knees!") when all that has happened is a bit player releasing a product with no performance figures.

Re:Really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586781)

all that has happened is a bit player releasing a product with no performance figures.

What you fail to understand is that paid advertisements don't follow the rules of normal story submission. ;)

Imho, to qualify for front page this should stop mentioning lame PHB terms like GHz and tell us how quickly it factors RSA numbers and how much total energy it takes to do so!

Re:Really... (1, Interesting)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586785)

Exactly. Atom may not be lightning fast but that's because it's scaled back to sip power. If someone wants to run the thing at 5 watts, like the nano, then I wouldn't be surprised if the kneeling were the other way around.

Re:Really... (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586847)

Not to mention that the Atom is fabbed at 45nm, so is going to have lower per-unit manufacturing costs. Oh, and since the Atom will also have higher volume, it'll spread its fixed-cost development overheads better. It's hard to see in which market segment the Nano hopes to compete. Rich and dumb, perhaps. Nobody make a Mac joke.

Re:Really... (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587179)

The Atom is geared towards cell phones, smartphones, and PDAs. The Nano is geared towards low-powered desktops, laptops, and tablet PCs. I think the Nano draws too much power to be used on devices that will use the Atom, and the Atom doesn't have enough processing power to be used on the devices that will use the Nano. Is there some overlap where the two will directly compete?

Re:Really... (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588019)

Cell phones, smartphones and PDAs use ARM chips (and occasionally PowerPC and SuperH chips) where the power usage peaks at around 250mW. The Atom doesn't come close to competing in this arena, which is why Intel are trying to invent a new market segment for it.

Re:Really... (4, Insightful)

LarsG (31008) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588187)

The Atom is geared towards cell phones, smartphones, and PDAs.
You kid, right? Atom is not for cell phones. At idle the Atom draws 15-20 times more electricity than what you want on a phone.

Not to mention that Atom is a CPU only, you have to add a north/southbridge to get something comparable to a current ARM cell-phone SOC. To give an example - the TI Omap2420 [ti.com] contains everything plus the kitchen sink -accelerated 2d/3d, 3G stuff, SD-card controller, USB interface, IRDA interface, memory controller, display controller (including TV-out)...

Currently, the Atom doesn't make much sense except on devices where X86 compatibility is a plus. In other words, subnotebooks.

Re:Really... (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589021)

Intel's own presentations don't have them targeting smartphones until two generations past this one. Both products are targetting "internet devices" and ultramobile PCs.

Re:Really... (5, Informative)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586855)

Hey, hold on. The press release [via.com.tw] has a little table which is worth reading. The above sentence should read:

[Nano] could bring Intel's Atom platform to its knees: clock speeds as high as 1.8 GHz with a maximum power draw of 25W or as low as 1.0 GHz with a maximum power draw of only 5 watts!

Re:Really... (5, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586861)

Like the old joke "the watch is tiny but look at the battery I have to carry in a suitcase" take a look at this photo [blogsmithmedia.com] .

That's the CPU in the foreground, passively heated, oo groovy. But wait, what's that huge heatsink with the fan ?!
Intel have offloaded all the power requirements into the northbridge. That way they can say "our CPU is 2.5w matey".

Oh, and it was supposed to ship June '08 but that's been quitely cancelled so no MSI Wind for you for the near future.

Re:Really... (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589229)

The chipset [intel.com] in the platform integrates both the north and southbridge and consumes a whopping 2.3W.

Not sure what that picture is supposed to be, since you didn't link any context, but it's certainly not of their mobile offering, which comes in at under five watts chipset inclusive.

Re:Really... (5, Informative)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586939)

1) Intel specify typical TDP. VIA's is max TDP.

2) Intel's desktop Atom (Diamondville) is 4W, not 2.5W.

3) Intel's chipsets are 4x4s in comparison to the moped-like Atom, thus power consumption is widely unbalanced. VIA have a single-chip solution, but I don't know the power consumption.

4) CPUs spend most of their time in idle - Nano uses 100mW here for all but the highest-end Nano.

5) Nano is more powerful per clock than Atom.

Re:Really... (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589081)

Just for the record, I looked up VIA's VX800W single-chip chipset, and its TDP was 3.5W.

This is very very low, and I believe that as a platform VIA have something they can win with, if they put some work in and tweak their story to be about platform power consumption and dedicated hardware acceleration.

Re:Really... (1)

DataPath (1111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587185)

Tough to say. Intel reports "typical maximum" for their TDP.

AMD reports "theoretical maximum" for their TDP.

We don't know how VIA arrived at their number, but it's quite possible that VIA's 5W number and Intel's 2.5W number aren't a straight-across comparison.

Re:Really... (2, Funny)

Anonmyous Coward (1290620) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587287)

> for cheesy bad-action-flick terminology ("Intel's chip brought to it's knees!")

I was thinking more pr0n-flick (the bad goes without saying) than bad-action-flick imagery from that statement. Don't read too much into what that says about me.

Re:Really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587725)

Intel's chip has a power draw of less than 2.5 watts for the highest-clocked chip. I don't see how a power draw that's twice that amount would bring Intel's atom to its knees.

"One of the main differences between Isaiah and Atom is that Intel's chip uses a more simple "in-order execution" design, compared with Isaiah's Superscalar, out-of-order design."
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-9951669-64.html?part=rss&subj=Nanotech:TheCircuitsBlog [cnet.com]

Judging by (very) early benchmarks, Nano appears to beat Atom handily. If true, Nano outperforms Atom, due to superior design, despite Intel's manufacturing advantage. This would be a real coupe for tiny Via.

Re:Really... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588563)

not really, Intel's Atom is just like MS extending XP for the eeePC. The low-end player is almost in reach of the bottom of the market leader so the market leader is stepping back with a "new" version of "old" technology to under price the chasers from the market and keep the profit margins for new stuff as long as they can.

Re:Really... (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589189)

Intel's Atom is certainly now "old" technology. It's a ground-up redesign for low power.

However it didn't get low enough in power consumption to be used for phones and PDAs, so Intel are busy creating a new small-low-power laptop and computer category where it can be used in.

Re:Really... (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588013)

Intel's chip has a power draw of less than 2.5 watts for the highest-clocked chip. I don't see how a power draw that's twice that amount would bring Intel's atom to its knees.

It's also in-order, which makes it quite a bit slower.

Re:Really... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588463)

Atom is not out-of-order or superscalar. That was the trade off they made to get it really small and cheap. Via's new chip is much faster than what they currently sell and happens to be low wattage too. It is more matched to the eeePC than the old-model celerons they use now.

Re:Really... (5, Insightful)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588501)

Trying to compare the two processors with the amount of information available on them right now is pretty silly in general. Clock speed comparisons are even more silly considering the vastly different architectures (single-issue, in-order vs three-issue, out-of-order) and cache sizes (24K L1-I, 32K L1-D, 512K 8-way L2 vs 64k L1-I, 64K L1-D, 1024K 16-way L2).

Power comparisons are a bit premature at this point as well. Noone knows what typical consumption is at this point; just idle and max. A lot depends on how effective the power management is in each processor. Depending on the performance delta between the chips it's also possible that a higher maximum TDP won't always be the disadvantage it seems to be; if the Via chip has higher instruction throughput, it means it can return to idle state that much quicker.

There's also the question of the whole platform, as well. The chipset from Intel manages an impressive TDP (about 2.3W) but is somewhat limited - only 400/533MHz FSB, low max resolution (1366x768 LVDS or 1280x1024 SDVO), one DDR2 400/533Mhz slot, only two 1x PCI-e ports, no SATA and only one PATA channel. So far as I know there are no hard numbers of graphics performance since they're integrating a licensed design (PowerVR SGX535) that has traditionally been used in embedded devices. However their own slideshows comparing the capabilities with their (over four year old!) 915G chipset show about half the memory bandwidth and less than a third the pixel rate. In other words, pretty piss poor. They do, however, include hardware acceleration for most common codecs, which should minimize the impact in their target market.

The new chipset Via is offering - the VX800 - consumes far more power at peak (though as with the processor this may or may not reflect typical depending on how the power management is implemented) but is a bit more featureful - 800MHz bus, up to 1920x1200, two DDR2 667MHz slots, a 4x PCI-e slot in addition to the two 1x slots, two SATA 2.0 ports and video capture support. They also offer a lower power version - the VX800u - which drops the peak TDP to 3.5W but drops the bus to 400MHz and nixes the 4x PCI-e slot and SATA ports.

My take is that the Intel offering is probably better suited to certain embedded applications as well as the MID market. The main market these two will likely compete in is the burgeoning UMPC market. Without real performance and power numbers it's hard to say who has the edge. More likely than not which chip is best will depend entirely on what trade-offs the manufacturer is willing to make.

Atom (1)

hsa (598343) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586523)

They are comparing it to Atom, but the Thermal Envelopes are far above 4W. So essentially, this is faster, but consumes more power.

So, all it takes to beat this is to release faster Atoms.

I hope this creates some competion to Ultra-Mobile Portable Device market though, having 2 alternatives is never bad. Now AMD needs to make its move.

So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (2, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586535)

I must admit that a 5-watt, 64-bit processor sounds pretty spiffy, but I'd really like to see how it compares to the low-power 32-bit machines that are available now.

-jcr

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586797)

Well, the C7 on the Pico-ITX board apparently draws a lowly 1 watt a 1Ghz. That means that twice the address space costs 5x the power and the same clock speed.

Someone feel free to correct me if my interpretation is flawed, but I'm not really seeing this as worth it.

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586989)

I believe that the nano is quite a lot faster due to out-of-order processing and more cache. Do not mix TDP with average power consumption (and btw, don't mix TDP from different companies either, they measure it differently), the C7-M ULV 1 GHz CPU has a TDP of 3.5W, which is not too far from the 5 watts of the Nano U2400.

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587005)

TFS says that this new CPU is also their first superscalar, speculative out-of-order design. If they've made an effective implementation of that, they should get significantly more performance per clock out of this CPU compared to the C7.

Sheeet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587519)

Pretty much every company I've worked for perfected "speculative out-of-order design" years ago.

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587015)

The Nano has twice the integer performance and 3-4 times the floating point performance of the C7 per clock though. A 500MHz Nano would probably compete very well with a 1GHz C7. It might also have more aggressive idle modes (Nano gets 100mW, don't know about the C7).

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586913)

Why not a 2W x86-64 processor like the Atom? ARM may be an inherently more efficient architecture, but Intel have an awesome 45nm process and are getting pretty good at dealing with those clunky old x86 instructions efficiently.

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (1)

pslam (97660) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589029)

It's still 10-100 times more power hungry than the average ARM you find in an MP3 player or mobile phone. Both chips are totally unsuitable for usage in low power small mobile devices. Intel is quite deluded if they think they have a competitor.

Re:So, how does it stack up against ARM products? (1)

learningtree (1117339) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589225)

Actually, that will not be a fair comparison. Processors such as Atom and Nano are designed for x86 compatibility, an architecture thats almost 30 years old and inefficient as compared to current standards. ARM on the other hand is a comparatively modern RISC architecture. No doubt it finds place in about 75% of 32 bit RISC CPUs in embedded systems.

Stop this nano craze (1, Offtopic)

sveard (1076275) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586555)

Who even knows what 'nano' means? I do, and I assume most slashdotters know too. But what about John Sixpack, the actual consumer?

Why not just call the damn thing VIA Tiny... I'm so sick of nano this and nano that. Not a day goes by or there it is, on slashdot's frontpage.

Re:Stop this nano craze (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586915)

I liked the iPod Nano. It made me imagine full-sized iPods that were 10e9 times larger. This is less fun.

Re:Stop this nano craze (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#23589103)

Who even knows what 'nano' means?

Anyone who watches TV. It means "bigger than shuffle".

I should trademark some names... (3, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586559)

I should rush off to trademark Muon, Quark, Lepton, Meson and Positron. But seriously, the sudden movement at the bottom of the processor market highlights a seismic shift toward ultra portables. The Asus eee was the vanguard, and I suspect we'll see literally dozens of decent machines in this market segment by the end of the year. It remains to be seen whether anyone will actually make money in this segment, though. Asus set the bar low with a $299 machine and consumers are expecting to be bowled over by increasingly capable machines at that price point.

Re:I should trademark some names... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586759)

Personally, I'm not overly concerned about desktop/mobile machines. The marketplace will take care of that end of things. I'd like to see an ultra low power really-small-motherboard (nano, pico, invisible, whatever) that is fanless and can run on a small battery power source for a reasonable time.

I'm currently hacking some old hardware and such would be fantastic. Trying to take an old SCSI raid chassis, jam a mobo inside, psu, and some SATA drives. All that in a small case as a versatile fileserver/NAS system. For the home network, I'm going to thick clients and keeping the user data all backed up disk2disk in a way that we can all log in from any machine. Also trying to do this without adding extra to the energy bill, so am going for lower power upgrades to some older hardware that I have.

Things are slowly coming together, but a few steps left in the shrinkage department. This looks good, but as pointed out, still a bit of a power draw. sigh... A $75 mobo price point would be quite nice.

Re:I should trademark some names... (1)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587549)

I'd like to see an ultra low power really-small-motherboard (nano, pico, invisible, whatever) that is fanless and can run on a small battery power source for a reasonable time.
How about this:

http://beagleboard.org/ [beagleboard.org]

The Beagle Board is a low-cost, fan-less single-board computer based on Texas Instruments' OMAP35x device family, with all of the expandability of today's desktop machines, but without the bulk, expense, or noise.

Re:I should trademark some names... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587745)

I am looking for something that small or a little bit bigger that supports 2-4 SATA devices, as well as USB and Linux. I have several cases that have enough room for 4 drives, a small PSU, and little extra room. A mini-itx board will just fit if I reconstruct the drive mounting hardware to be vertical rather than horizontal. I think this would be ideal for home. It's about the size of three Linksys routers stuck together - kind of. I have two with 5 1/4 drive bays also. I'm mounting DVD/CD drives in these and a HD. Would like this to sit next to my stereo for ripping and burning CDs etc. as well as streaming music locally on the home LAN. I'd use a laptop, but I'm going for low power and want access to the server from any system in the house, even the under-cabinet system in the kitchen. It's not a small or short term project, so I can afford to wait for the right parts... working on other parts while I wait. :)

Re:I should trademark some names... (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588193)

Check out VIA's line of integrated boards. Many of them seem to meet your requirements. They're much slower than desktop processors though.

Ummm, that's not all that impressive (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586597)

Intel has 65nm Core Solo processors (the U1300-1500) that are spec'd at 5.5 watts TPD, and they tend to be conservative on that. Now I suppose it could end up that the Via chip does more per clock than the Core Solo, but I'd want to see some real world benchmarks before buying in to that. Via has traditionally not been that powerful per clock, and Intel's Core chips are some of the most powerful per clock of anything we've yet seen.

Also reading the article, 5 watts isn't the max, 5 watts is the TDP at 1GHz. Going up to 1.8GHz you go to 25 watts. This is very similar to the Core Solo (5.5 watts for 1-1.33Ghz, 27 watts for 1.66-1.83GHz). So it seems to me this isn't really a competitor to the Atom, more to the Core Solo. However the Core Solo is a pretty impressive chip,, so to be a real competitor this will need to be as well.

Also Intel has a 45nm factory up and running full steam, with parts available retail. Currently it's Core 2 desktop components it's making, but there's no reason that it can't do these Core Solo notebook chips as well. Of course, going to the smaller process would mean even less power usage.

So we'll have to see how this chip does in real world benchmarks once it's available to third parties. However, it isn't some new part that comes in below what Intel is offering, rather it is in the same segment as their Core Solo. That means it faces some reasonably stiff competition on the performance front.

Re:Ummm, that's not all that impressive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587003)

Intel conservative when it comes to power consumption specs? Aren't Intel's numbers _average_, thus way more optimistic, compared to almost anyone else reporting _peak_ consumption?

Re:Ummm, that's not all that impressive (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587365)

No. TDP is the thermal dissipation spec. It is the spec for manufacturers as to how much heat their system must be able to dissipate for a given processor. Thus, it is the absolute maximum. It is not feasible to have a thermal solution that doesn't meet the max dissipation or it'll overheat. Hence the number is a conservative max. You can see this in the fact that multiple processors will have the same TDP. Obviously the slower processors use less power, however Intel specs the TDP for a range, not for a single unit. So it is the max that the highest end unit will dissipate. After all, a thermal solution can be more than it needs to be, it just can't be less.

Incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587995)

Is the TDP based on

a) 100% of usage of the CPU in applications
or
b) if every clock switched at full rate

a is less than b and Intel use (a). AMD use (b) and VIA may well be using (b) too.

Re:Ummm, that's not all that impressive (1)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587323)

Currently it's Core 2 desktop components it's making, but there's no reason that it can't do these Core Solo notebook chips as well.
From wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Depending on demand, Intel may also simply disable one of the cores to sell the chip at the Core Solo price -- this requires less effort than launching and maintaining a separate line of CPUs that physically only have one core. Intel used the same strategy previously with the 486 CPU in which early 486SX CPUs were in fact manufactured as 486DX CPUs but the FPU failed quality control and the connection was physically severed.
So yeah, they certainly will get Core Solo chips out of that factory.

Re:Ummm, that's not all that impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587389)

Doesn't Intel typically list *average* TDP values where as the VIA ones are *max*?

Intel won't be losing any sleep (2, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586667)

Why would this worry Intel? Not very many comparative benchmarks, but the IPC of the Nano and a Celeron-M appear to be similar (extrapolating from the bottom graph in TFA). That means a 1GHz Nano (TDP: 5W) would have similar performance to a 1.8GHz Silverthorne Atom (TDP: 2.5W). The 1.8GHz Nano has a TDP of a whopping 25W - that's Core 2 territory. Intel won't be very worried, especially since their parts are built on 45nm, so they get far more chips per wafer.

Re:Intel won't be losing any sleep (3, Informative)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587173)

The Diamondville Atoms that this will compete with use 4W though. In addition the Intel chipsets that they have been paired with so far use up to 22W! If VIA have a 10W chipset (VX800) to use with this, they will have the best overall *platform* in terms of power consumption, and performance will be good as well apparently. The TDPs appear to ramp after 1.3GHz, it must be a side effect of the Fujitsu 65nm process.

Call me a cynic (3, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586767)

but considering that all of my experiences with Via's products have been problematic at best, I will give this product the same shunning I have given their motherboard products. At least until I see a couple of years of good real world reports... Frankly I am surprised that the company lives

Re:Call me a cynic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23587647)

frankly, I'm surprised your brain manages to keep itself alive.

Re:Call me a cynic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23588685)

Touchy, touchy.

Sounds like someone made a bad purchase.

Re:Call me a cynic (2, Informative)

jcgf (688310) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588345)

My experiences with VIA are similar.

I had a VIA 533 MHz C3 based micro-itx board and I hated it. It performed about as well as a P2 at 350MHz at best. Things that I could do on my Athlon 64 3500 in 2 hours took 12-13 on the VIA system (converting downloaded AVI files to DVDs for my folks who didn't have a DVD player that could do anything but DVDs) so instead of doing 2-3 movies at night after work, I would have to leave it run overnight and hope that it didn't encounter any errors in the process. The graphics card did not really work under BSD and I'm told that the Linux support was bad too (don't use it). Their bragged about hardware accelerated crypto was also not supported by anything so it was effectively useless. I also couldn't get Windows XP to work with it (it installed but crashed all the time) so I ended up with a machine that dual-booted Win2k and FreeBSD 6.0 without X windows. I thought about building a car PC, but I ended up selling the system instead.

I don't plan on buying VIA products again

Intel Atom Line Info (2, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586823)

These new chips, previously codenamed Silverthorne and Diamondville, will be manufactured on Intel's industry-leading 45nm process with hi-k metal gate technology. The chips have a thermal design power (TDP) specification in 0.6-2.5 watt range and scale to 1.8GHz speeds depending on customer need. By comparison, today's mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo processors have a TDP in the 35-watt range.
From Intel's web site [intel.com] .

It appears Via has a decent product, but nothing that will cause Intel to break the crease in their designer jeans.

I'd like to see vpn/firewall box around this CPU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23586885)

Together with its integrated encryption module this would make one bad ass VPN/firewall-box. Many low power chips in similar thermal envelope (5W or less) can manage at most disappointing 5-10 Mbit/s (like Soekris boxes), but this beast... pure speculation here, but could it reach 100+Mbit/s doing ipsec or pptp? Does Openbsd (or something else mature and secure) support Nano's encryption acceleration?

Re:I'd like to see vpn/firewall box around this CP (2, Funny)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587443)

I know both OpenBSD and NetBSD have had support for the earlier Via hardware crypto devices; if the new ones are sufficiently similar, the support should follow very shortly.

Re:I'd like to see vpn/firewall box around this CP (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588131)

After the last-but-one hackathon, pf performance in OpenBSD increased by about 100% on Soekris boards. You can also get very good VPN performance by sticking a crypto accelerator in a miniPCI slot. As the other poster pointed out, OpenSSL has supported the older Via CPUs crypto instructions for quite a while, so this shouldn't be a problem. If this implements a superset of the old ISA then it will already be partially supported.

It's called the Nano? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#23586965)

Are you serious? First of all, doesn't this sound like a certain Apple product name? Additionally, what kind of name is Nano anyway? Intel with it's noble gas Xeon and then their Centrino have a better choice of names. What marketing exec decided, "Oh we can't think of any good name, so lets just name it after the SI prefix for the chip manufacturing process." What's next, the Pico? Femto? Maybe VIA should stick with its serial-style choice of random numbers and letters. At least the C7 shows some creativity.

Re:It's called the Nano? (2, Informative)

DrPizza (558687) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587133)

The noble gas is xenon, not Xeon.

Re:It's called the Nano? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587319)

Right. My bad. I can't help it they look so much alike. It's almost like the Superman mix-up of Kryptonite where everyone thinks of Superman when Krypton gas is mentioned (although Kryptonite now exists [bbc.co.uk] ).

Re:It's called the Nano? (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 5 years ago | (#23587929)

It used to go the other way. People talking about getting servers with "Xenon" processors.

failzorS... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23588221)

Previousl7 thought

people dont change unless factor of ten improvemnt (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#23588479)

The history of computers is littered with nifty idea that were only 1.5x 2x or even 5x better price-performance than the establishment. Theres too much invested in existing vendor relationships, hardware and especially software otherwise.
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