VIA announces C7 processor

VIA has announced its new C7 "Esther" processor, intended for use in "mainstream thin and light notebooks, mini PCs, green clients, personal electronics such as home media centers and PVRs, and high density server and server appliances," according to the company. The C7 is fabricated using IBM's 90nm system-on-insulator (SOI) manufacturing technology and has a tiny die size of 30mm2. The C7 will use as little as 100mW of power at idle, and at 2GHz under load, the processor will pull approximately 20 watts.

In addition to lower power requirements, the VIA C7 features VIA's Padlock Hardware Security Suite for hardware-based random-number generation and AES Encryption, as have past VIA CPUs. This one also incorporates SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing, and a "Montgomery Multiplier supporting key sizes up to 32k in length." NX bit protection is supported, as well.

Initially to be launched at speeds of up to 2.0GHz, the VIA C7 processor boasts the highly efficient VIA V4 bus interface with speeds of up to 800MHz with competitive write bandwidth and linear ordering modes, as well as SSE2 and SSE3 support for enhanced multimedia performance, and 128KB of both L1 and L2 on-die cache memory.
This "V4" bus is, we believe, electrically compatible with Intel's Pentium M/Pentium 4 bus, which opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities for the C7. VIA is vague on chipset support, stating the C7 can be coupled with VIA C-series chipsets. Expect the C7 to enter mass production at the end of the second quarter of this year.
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