VIA introduces QuadCore low power x86 processor

VIA Technologies has introduced its first quad core processor. The 1.2 GHz VIA QuadCore chip has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 27.5 watts. While that makes it a bit of an energy hog when compared with low power ARM or Intel Atom processors, I can’t think of another quad-core x86 chip that uses so little power.

The VIA QuadCore processors are 64-bit chips with 4MB of L2 cache, a 1333 MHz V4 Bus, out-of-order architecture, and support for hardware virtualization and AES hardware security features. The chips also support overclocking.

The chips are manufactured with a 40nm process and are pin-to-pin compatible with earlier VIA chips including the VIA Eden, VIA C7, VIA Nano E-Series, and VIA Eden X2. This will make it relatively easy for PC makers to offer the new quad-core chips without making major changes to their hardware designs.

VIA will begin showing the new QuadCore processors at Computex in Taiwan later this month, and expects to begin shipping the processors in volume during the third quarter of 2011.

With a TDP of 27.5 watts, my guess is that these chips could be used in desktop and laptop computers. I’d be surprised if we see any 10 inch or smaller netbooks powered by this chipset.

  • aftermath

    I’ve nearly outgrown getting excited by VIA product announcements because the hardware tends to be slow in coming and poorly supported (on every operating system). Although I don’t keep track of these things like I used to, I believe that recent VIA platforms remain the only ultra low voltage x86 platforms to support ECC memory. While Intel Atom has pushed its way into server applications, rightfully so, the omission of ECC memory support holds it back from widespread adoption in this area. If this processor fits in a setting where ECC memory is supported, then it could be a big win for NAS and other server applications where fault tolerance is more than just a convenient feature. However, Intel now has a dual core Sandy Bridge processor, i3-2100T, that apparently idles at 10W (with a 35W max TDP). Core count isn’t everything, and I’d be stunned if this quad core processor is anywhere near as powerful or efficient as that dual core processor. It will be great when Intel finally offers some quad core equivalent to this with the coming of Ivy Bridge.