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VIA C7: Low Power Is Its Power

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There have been rumours for a while that VIA was going to unveil a Pentium M pin-compatible CPU, well now its has: the C7.



The C7 is a 90nm processor which prioritises low power consumption. The company claims its 800MHz FSB, 128KB L1 and L2 cache offering will be able to run clock speeds of 2GHz, yet use only 20 watts peak power. When idle it can use as little as 100mW (0.1W). If these figures are correct, the C7 will deliver the greatest x86 performance per watt on the market.



Naturally enough, the company is lauding these stats over Intel and has released the graph below showing a comparison between the Pentium M and C7 when both are normalised to performance/TDPmax of the VIA C7-M processor at 1.5GHz. This isn't a performance benchmark as such, but more an indicator of how much performace the C7 delvers relative to its low power useage.



Another factor VIA is hyping up with the C7 is its teeny form factor. Just check out how much smaller it is than its existing C3 CPU. Consequently, the company is keen to promote the C7 for use in systems such as mini PCs, ultra portable notebooks, PVRs and home media centres.



The security of the C7 is stressed too, with VIA including the “PadLock Hardware Security Suite” already implemented in its Eden and C3 series as well as SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing for secure message digests and a hardware based Montgomery Multiplier supporting key sizes up to 32K in length for public key cryptography. The C7 is also MMX, SSE2 and SSE3 (multimedia instructions) compatible.

VIA chose not to reveal any adopters of the C7 at this stage, so there may be a little wait before we see the first machines based on it. This is a pretty interesting little chip though, and we’ll keep bringing you the info as and when it emerges.

Update: 27.05.2005
Appears that the C7 will be going into mass production by the end of the quarter, so we should start seeing the first partners pop out the woodwork any minute...

Link:
VIA Technologies

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