Chip maker VIA is introducing a new line of low-power, high performance processors. The Nano family of chips (formerly known under the codename Isaiah) are a long overdue upgrade to VIA’s C7-M series. While the C7 chips are certainly low-power, they also underperform similar chips from Intel. The 1.2GHz C7 CPU in my HP Mini-Note, for example, feels sluggish when multi-tasking, and the computer does a horrible job of handling online video from sites like Hulu.

The Nano chips will range from 1GHz to 1.8GHz in speed, while consuming just 5 to 25 watts. Nano procesors will come in two classes, with lower powered chips that are ideal for low-cost ultraportables and higher powered chips designed for desktops and traditional laptop computers. So while VIA’s press release claims that the Nano processor can handle high performance tasks like playing Crysis or Blu-ray Discs, I wouldn’t expect to do that on a mini notebook anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get a little excited when I read lines saying “offers as much as four times the performance within the same power range” as a C7 CPU.

Nano chips feature pin compatibility with the VIA C7 processors, which means it should be easy for PC makers to upgrade from C7 to Nano architecture.

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