Via launches faster, more power-efficient Nano CPUs

— 9:33 AM on November 3, 2009

The Nano is growing up. Earlier this morning, Via announced six new Nano 3000-series processors, which purportedly deliver "up to 20% higher performance using up to 20% less power" than their Nano 1000- and 2000-series predecessors.

Here's what the new lineup looks like:

Processor Clock speed FSB Idle power
Nano L3100 2.0GHz 800MHz 500mW
Nano L3050 1.8GHz 800MHz 500mW
Nano U3200 1.4GHz 800MHz 100mW
Nano U3100 1.3+GHz 800MHz 100mW
Nano U3300 1.2GHz 800MHz 100mW
Nano U3500 1.0GHz 800MHz 100mW

Via bases these CPUs on the same 64-bit Isaiah architecture as before, but it's added little things like support for SSE4 and hardware virtualization. Also, the higher clock speeds and claims of low power use suggest Via has moved down from 65-nm process technology. The press release and product information pages eerily lack information about manufacturing processes, though; we've asked the company about this matter and are awaiting a response.

Despite the changes, the new Nanos are pin-compatible with practically all of Via's other CPUs, including older Nano iterations, as well as the C7, C7-M, and Via Eden. As Via points out, that compatibility ought to allow hardware vendors to upgrade existing systems easily.

Don't go hunting for a Nano 3000-based netbook just yet, though. Via says it's sending out samples to PC vendors, but mass production will only kick off next quarter.

Update: Amazing what Google will find you. In this case, our own news item about the Nano 3000 series from last January answered our question about the fab process:

Via plans to introduce the Nano 3000 processor in mid-year, with a 25% reduction in power use and a 25% increase in performance. These gains will come from refinements to the chip, not a die shrink; the Nano 3000 will still be manufactured on a 65-nm process.

Also coming in Q1 is a new chipset with a TDP rating of just 1.7W, and Via says it will include HD video decode and playback acceleration that should be capable of handling 1080p H.264 video streams.

Later, at the end of 2009, the Nano will make the jump to dual-core configurations, as well.

Via's schedule has obviously slipped by half a year or so, but unless its plans have changed dramatically, the Nano 3000 remains a 65-nm processor, presumably still manufactured by Fujitsu, as were the first Nanos. Let's hope we see an updated version of the Samsung NC20 with one of these new processors in it and perhaps Windows 7. Could be a nice combo.
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