This is an interesting development. About as interesting as AMD's upcoming ARM and x86 cores. Some thoughts:
1. Considering the cost of developing CPU cores, existing product sales will have to be strong enough to fund the next project. But given VIA's tiny market presence, I wonder where VIA is getting funding. They're part of Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group but still, unless Formosa Plastics just wants to burn some cash it seems difficult to continue developing x86 cores. Considering VIA's cores are quite a bit simpler than Intel's or even AMD's, R&D costs are probably lower, but still, VIA CPU revenues are too small.
2. How is VIA's x86 license doing? Do they renew it every few years the way AMD does?
3. Good to see how AMD's SkyBridge isn't the only game in town. In fact, this actually looks even more interesting from a technical perspective (never mind performance) because both ISAs can be serviced without swapping chips. That is, unless SkyBridge is actually a hybrid x86/ARM part as well.
4. I really hope VIA can target higher clocks. A similar attempt at hybrid ISA CPUs was done by IBM back in the 90's in the form of the PowerPC 615, but I think it ultimately failed because Microsoft didn't want to support it and performance wasn't groundbreaking (don't quote me on this though). Here's hoping VIA can pull it off better than IBM could, but don't hold your breath.
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