VIA, Transmeta announce new processors

— 2:48 AM on October 15, 2003

VIA and Transmeta have updated their processor lines to include new chips optimized for ultra low power consumption. VIA's NanoBGA Eden-N processor will be available in 533MHz, 800MHz, and 1GHz flavors that consume only 4, 6, and 7W, respectively. The Eden-N 's NanoBGA package measures only 15mm x 15mm, which makes it perfect for VIA's tiny new Nano ITX motherboard form factor.

Not to be outdone by VIA, Transmeta has finally unveiled Crusoe's successor. The new "Efficeon" processor has 1MB of cache, runs at 1.1GHz, and consumes only 7W. Like Crusoe, the Efficeon is loaded with Transmeta's funky code-morphing technology.

It's a pretty safe bet that neither the Eden-N nor Efficeon will make their way into many enthusiasts' desktop systems, but the chips are quite attractive for environments where size and power consumption are top priorities. The Eden-N and Efficeon should be "fast enough" for a wide variety of different applications, too.

As neat as VIA and Transmeta's new power-sipping chips look, I can't help but wonder how long the two companies have before Intel starts making a serious play for the ultra low power consumption market. Intel's power-saving Pentium M processor has been extremely successful in Centrino-branded desktops and it may only be a matter of time before Intel targets VIA and Transmeta's market niches.

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