Could Via's newest Nanos finally challenge the dominance of the (rubbish) Intel Atom?
The company has announced the 'Nano 3000 Series', a range it boasts will perform up to 42 per cent faster than identically clocked Atoms in PC Mark (34.5 per cent in Cinebench R10) and playback 1080p HD video thanks to its Chrome9 HC3 graphics chip. Throw in a 64bit base and 20 per cent less power consumption than the original Nano (2000 series) and things look rosy.
"With the VIA Nano 3000 Series, we are launching our fastest and most power-efficient processors yet," said Via Technology marketing VP Richard Brown. "Coupled with our market-leading digital media chipsets, they enable the richest experience across a broad range of mobile and all-in-one system designs."
The problem with all this is CPU Land is a ferocious and fast moving place and trouble lies ahead. For a start, the 3000 Series is actually just a evolution of the Nano 2000 with the identical 65nm fabrication process, 800MHz FSB, 1MB L2 cache and it remains single core. In fact, the improvements are primarily SSE4 Instruction support and a new 2GHz maximum clock speed. Secondly, Via is pushing for mass distribution in Q1 2010 which is when we'll see next gen Atoms, which themselves are being increasingly fed upon by Intel's CULV platform.
So with the Nano 3000 series Via has indeed moved the standard on in comparison to the current Atom. The problem is the competition looks ready to move on again...
In related news Apple has continued its po-faced policy of locking its software from non-Apple hardware by removing support for the Intel Atom CPU in its Mac OS X 10.6.2 update. The move is an attempt to kill off the hugely popular 'hackintosh' practice of installing OS X on netbooks. Thanks Apple, we can't all afford (or want?) a Macbook Air.