VIA Unveils Quad-Core Processor for New PCs: Phones, Tablets, Netbooks
5/12/2011 by: Theo Valich
Hot on the heels of releasing its latest dual-core processor, Nano X2-E, VIA Technologies unveiled their first quad-core processor for low-power devices, challenging AMD's low-power Fusion APUs and Intel Atoms.The company prepared an in-depth presentation to show their point of view in the processor arms race. Given that VIA actually won back a little slice of the X86 market and now has 0.3%, inclusion of ARM CPUs in future figures could start swinging the pendulum slightly back into VIA's yard.
VIA's Crystal Ball predicts TAM (Total Addressable Market) of 10 billion units per year by 2020
VIA sees large market opportunity in always connected devices and targets to address the market with SoC's
featuring ARM cores for ultra low-power devices such as smartphones and tablets, and X86 CPUs and SOCs to cover the higher end of tablet market, set top boxes, netbooks and light PC clients.
In order to address the market with their X86 strategy, VIA launched two new processors in a spread of only seven days. Last week on Embedded Systems Conference 2011 in San Jose, VIA introduced Nano X2-E dual-core processor and today, the company is introducing their own quad-core, to be marketed as L4000 Series.
Two CPUs Launched in 7 Days: Dual-Core Nano X2-E On the Left and dual-die Quad-Core VIA L4000 Series on the Right
Just like Intel's Pentium D of yesteryear or AMD 12-core Opterons, VIA decided to adopt the MCM (Multi-Chip Module) approach by combining two Isaiah CPUs. The result is as follows - a tightly packaged MCM featuring two silicon dies ticking at 1.2GHz and beyond, featuring "Adaptive Overclocking", or Turbo mode as AMD and Intel like to call it.
As you can see on slide above, VIA L4700 brings 128KB of L1 cache per core, just like AMD's K7, K8 and K10 architectures (as well as Llano and Bulldozer, for that matter), followed by 1MB of L2 cache per core for a grand total of 512KB L1 and 4MB of L2 cache.
VIA Claims they consume the least power out of all Quad-Cores on the market. Don't mention CPU clocks, though
VIA claims that this is the lowest power consuming Quad-core processor on the market, with TDP rated at only 27W. For comparison, AMD's low-power Fusion APU consumes 18W for a dual-core processor ticking at 1.6GHz. Of course, VIA omitted the presence of 80 GPU cores. In the TDP table, VIA went forward and even disclosed the power consumption of the upcoming AMD's high-performing Fusion APU for notebooks and destkops, consisted out of four K10.5 "Deneb" cores and 400 Core Radeon HD 6200/6300 Series GPU.
The processor is communicating with the chipset using VIA's own V4 bus at 1.33GHz. The prices are as expected, very affordable pricing. The CPU is sampling now and should hit the stores in a couple of weeks. We expect to see an interesting number of design wins on Computex Taipei 2011, especially those targeting the ever-growing Chinese market.
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