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Via prepares to raise processor clock frequency to 2GHz

Posted: 27 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cpu? processor? 2ghz clock?

Via Technologies is preparing to improve the performance of its CPU family to achieve a 2GHz clock frequency this year, which would help allay some user complaints that its low-power benefits don't completely make up for its lack of horsepower.

Via's current CPU hits a maximum of 1.4 GHz, and consumes about 20 watts. The Taipei-based company will reportedly hit the 2 gigahertz target in the fourth quarter, using chips made at IBM, according to an email distributed by Via that cites a story from website Hard OCP.

Via does most of its business in PC chip sets, but it has been in the computer CPU business ever since it acquired the assets of Cyrix in 1999. Since then the company has struggled against the might of the two market leaders Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., and has tried to play up the virtues of its low-power platform, which enables fanless motherboard designs. It has not been enough to win Via significant market share, which stands at less than 2 percent.

The company's strategy has also been overshadowed by Intel's decision to use a similar low-power strategy as it seeks to move away from a reliance on gigahertz as a metric for performance and to satisfy users' desires for the longer battery life.

Via's 2GHz processor is set to consume about 25 watts of power. The company is also set to release a range of slower chips that use less power, ranging from 12 watts to 22 watts for four speed grades: 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 and 1.8GHz. This group of processors would move away from Via's current processor core, called the C3, to a new core, called the C7.

Details were not immediately available about the new core and whether it or IBM's manufacturing process had more to do with increasing the clock speed. A year ago, Via and IBM signed a deal to make the fabless company's next-generation chips in a 90 nanometer manufacturing process, with the possible use of silicon-on-insulator technology.

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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