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"The World's Most Affordable Vista Premium PC"  (Source: NVIDIA)
NVIDA looks to VIA for help with a new low-cost processing platform

When it comes to new opportunities for growth in the PC industry, the common trend appears to be going downward instead of up. We first saw this with ASUS' Eee PC notebook which starts at $299 for a 2G model and goes on up to $499 for an 8G model.

Other manufacturers like ECS, Everex, HP, and Dell are also looking to move a bit down-market with low-cost notebooks aimed at price-conscious consumers and the education market. While much of the action is taking place in the mobile sector, there is also some activity now taking place with desktops as well.

ASUS is once again leading the charge with its Digital Home System EP20 and Essentio CS5110 desktops. Both desktop machines are built around an Intel processing platform.

NVIDIA, which recently had a few choice words for Intel and its integrated graphics which it deemed "a joke", contends that it can better Intel at the low-end for desktop computers. NVIDIA plans on countering Intel with cheap, but powerful chipsets, graphics solutions, and processors with the help of VIA.

During NVIDIA's financial analyst meeting today, the company revealed plans for what it calls "The World's Most Affordable Vista Premium PC". The platform use a VIA Isaiah processor coupled with an integrated NVIDIA chipset. NVIDIA reckons that the Isaiah + NVIDIA IGP combination is good for a total of 36 GFLOPS in comparison to a mere 6.4 GFLOPS for a comparable Celeron-based system with an Intel 945 IGP/ICH4 chipset.

NVIDIA also claims that its platform will be Windows Vista Premium capable, support Blu-ray HD and DX10, and cost less than $45.

Most would have written off VIA when thinking solely of its current C7-M processors. However, the upcoming Isaiah processor architecture promises performance that is comparable to or exceeds figures put up by Intel's current Celeron processors. Early CrystalMark benchmarks for a 1.0GHz Isaiah show it to be 280% faster in ALU performance and 190% faster in FPU performance than a comparable C7-M. The performance figures also show Isaiah to be comparable in performance to Celeron-M and Pentium-M processors of similar clock speeds.

The real test, however, will be to see how Isaiah stacks up to Intel's new Diamondville-based Atom processors which are destined for low-cost desktops and notebooks which are typically powered by Celeron processors. We don't yet have performance figures for any of Intel's Atom processors at the moment, but let's hope that for NVIDIA and VIA's sake that the new platform will be able to back up NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's "We're Going to Open a Can of Whoop Ass" comment.

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Question the Price?
By Lord Banshee on 4/10/2008 9:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
I question the price but i open my arms to accept if true. Similar boards with just the older Via CPUS like the EPIA-N10000 Nano-ITX boards costs ~$200 USD. So how is nvidia going to have something that is 3+ times faster for 1/4 the price?

Good Luck and i am happy to see more competition :p , keeps all companies on their toes.

RE: Question the Price?
By BigLan on 4/10/2008 9:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
There are c7 based boards available on newegg for under $120 and C3 boards for under $50. Clubit has a C7 mATX board for about $60 as well. The higher prices you see are for nano-itx, which are niche products and have a higher price.

The $45 price is probably wholesale, so isn't that much less than the current pricing.

RE: Question the Price?
By phatboye on 4/10/2008 9:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
Yea and to add to that, when they say "platform" is the CPU included in that $45 price tag? If so then sign me up.

RE: Question the Price?
By spluurfg on 4/11/2008 4:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing $45 is the wholesale cost of core logic + cpu. This would be the price paid by OEM's to put onto a mobo.

RE: Question the Price?
By mindless1 on 4/11/2008 8:59:32 PM , Rating: 2
No that is the whole finished (example pictured) board populated with everything. The $45 price may be volume not retail.

RE: Question the Price?
By rhangman on 4/10/2008 9:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
An MM3500 board (C7 1.5GHz) is more like $70USD though. At least with Nvidia on board Via might shrink the CPU sooner which would make it even more competitive in terms of power requirements.

As for the price, it isn't really clear, but I would think they are talking CPU+chipset, so the actual price of a board would be more, especially if it is say Pico-ITX.

RE: Question the Price?
By Lonyo on 4/11/2008 3:43:20 AM , Rating: 2
How will nvidia help VIA shrink their processor?
Both companies are fabless, and VIA are currently on 65nm anyway for the CN (same as AMD).

RE: Question the Price?
By rhangman on 4/11/2008 6:16:31 AM , Rating: 2
Because they were talking about shrinking it down the line depending on costs, etc. More volume sales from Nvidia could potentially make it happen sooner.

As for being the same as AMD, AMD is gearing up for 45nm in the not too distant future and anyway, we are comparing to the Atom here not Bobcat (probably 45nm anyway).

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