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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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RE: my concern
By Samus on 4/11/2008 2:56:47 AM , Rating: -1
VIA? Ew.

nVidia, AMD needs your help. And they can build a chip tomorrow better than VIA ever will.

I know there might be a conflict of interest, especially since AMD Fusion is going to compete with this, but I doubt nVidia and VIA will put their technology on the same silicon; it'll still be a descrete solution, I'm sure.

RE: my concern
By tastyratz on 4/11/2008 8:24:59 AM , Rating: 3
Via held the power efficiency and heat generation belt for awhile now. I suspect atom and other processors to finally now push them out but they still make a very efficient processor. Via has not long been touted as an enthusiasts powerhouse but their processors work excellently for their intended audience. I have a via setup in my car as a carputer. Via makes a very good low power low heat low cost niche market processor. If nvidia wants to pull off a $45 system Via would be the most economic rout to pursue.

RE: my concern
By mindless1 on 4/11/2008 8:50:18 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason Via held any belt was nobody else had the balls to market such craptacularly underwhelming CPUs and keep a straight face while doing so.

What low power and equivalent performance to what Via has had? It's quite simple, underclock & undervolt half the processors made in the last few years and you'll come close enough, and yet still be able to scale higher when the need arises.

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