VIA Nano vs Intel Atom

We remain convinced Intel Atom. But is not the only new piece of emerging-Chip in the running for a very cheap PC (ULPC) market.

VIA has finally launched the long awaited Isaiah processor, which is now officially called the Nano. It looked very promising.

Winchip winner at last?

All songs bitter spat around Intel and AMD, it is sometimes easy to forget that there is yet another manufacturer that is x86 compatible processors.

VIA CPUs have not been able to compete for the desktop market in general for some time - and in fact never really. But they have been quietly idling on niche markets, particularly where low power consumption is most beneficial.

VIA bought Centaur Technology from IDT in 1999, and with it VIA x86 acquired a license. Centaur designed the Winchip, who was a competitor for Intel Pentium and AMD at the time.

The Winchip was small and therefore inexpensive to produce, but never really gained much attention. Its main fault is its floating point performance. With entertainment software relying heavily on it - especially video decoding and 3D games - its call for public office was limited.

VIA is no longer delayed

Winchip developed the VIA C3 and C7, but it was still poor floating point performance. Although the C3 started life as the Cyrix III, thanks to VIA Cyrix also be purchased from National Semiconductor, VIA Centaur was transferred to the project prior to launch, and this has developed since then.

The C7 is regular appearances in low-cost ultra-portable - C7-M beats in the heart of HP Mini-Note 2133, for example - where the frugal cost and low power consumption is a blessing. Just do not try to play all games on one.

C7 but does not handle Vista well. This is where the Nano comes and why it is such a great release for VIA. Isaiah Architecture has been greatly improved floating point performance promising since has announced its development.

According to VIA's own benchmarks of the Nano, it seems to be what he promised.

VIA Nano vs Intel Atom

VIA quotes floating-point performance tested using PassMark Performance Test 6.1. Sting 1.8GHz Nano against a 1.8 GHz C7, the Nano and C7 only 148.8 73.8 - implying that the Nano is slightly more than twice as fast. The SiSoft Sandra XII c (ALU Power Performance) result of the show even more improvement - 887 versus 274, a threefold increase.

All this bodes well. But through one thing has not given many details of the Nano is the way the Intel equivalent measures. The only comparison between data recorded at 1.6 GHz and 1.6 GHz Nano L2200 Intel Celeron M520. The Nano supposedly provides twice the performance per watt of the Celeron.

Intel Atom is the most important competition ULPC market, and so far has proven to be very unhappy. Better version of 1.6GHz 900MHz Celeron-M SuperPi 1M. So the Nano could be very competitive indeed with the atom, at least in terms of performance.

EIA also mentions some of the impressive score of consumption of energy. A full range of five Nanos has begun, the 1GHz U2300 with a Thermal Design Power 5W L2100 at 1.8 GHz with a TDP of 25W. However, here is the Intel Atom can be useful. Nanotechnology has been quoted as consumes 100 mW in idle, but apparently needs only 30mW Atom, and less than 2.5 W when fully utilized.

Silly Nano revolution

With a maximum current of 1.8 GHz, the Nano is not likely to approach the performance of key desktop AMD and Intel. Today is still a single core, although VIA provides dual-core versions in 2009.

But Nano is VIA's first 64-bit processor, despite the time how long it takes for the consumer PC to move on to the current standard 32-bit.

Thus, although this is not an answer to VIA for Intel Core 2 Extreme and AMD's Phenom, the Nano is a much more competitive proposition than anything from VIA so far - especially in the laptop market with low cost more and more important. It could also be the first sign of a race with three horses in the new processors.