Several years ago, AMD announced a project to have 50% of
the world's population internet-capable
by 2015. The project revolves around providing low-power, reliable
AMD Geode PCs to developing and third-world countries at very low costs.
Combined with the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project, AMD is leading the way
for everyone to have a computer. Not to be left out, VIA is also about to
announce a similar project, called pc-1. VIA insiders have leaked the
specifications of pc-1 to us on the verge of the official announcement -- which
should be one of the company's largest in some time.
The heart of VIA's pc-1 platform are the pc1500, pc2000 and pc2500 CPUs; all
three of which are unannounced at this time. The model name is supposed
to correspond to the equivalent performance of a Celeron processor in MHz; so a
pc2500 CPU should perform approximately the same or better than a 2.5GHz
single-core Celeron. The 90nm x86 processors feature 128KB L1 and 128KB
L2 cache -- 32-way, victim replacement. The new CPU supports also SSE1,
SSE2, SSE3, as well as enhancements for cryptography including SHA-1, AES and
RSA optimizations. A 400MHz front side bus connects the CPU to the CN700 or
CN800 Northbridge over the V4 interconnect. Since the CPU has no
integrated memory controller, DDR1 or DDR2 support is entirely up to the core
logic chipset. VIA C7 and C7-M configurations for pc-1 also show up on the
roadmap, though it appears as the majority push is using the pc2000 and pc2500
Here is the kicker though -- the whole CPU consumes less than 500mW at idle,
with a TDP envelope of 25W for the pc2500 and 13W for the pc2000. The low
power is essentially what the pc-1 platform is all about. VIA's
documentation claims the pc2500 CPU is approximately on par with a Celeron
2.8GHz CPU, but over the course of a year a pc-1 platform will consume half as
much energy as the Intel system. Not only is the pc-1 cheaper at initial
purchase, but the long term power benefits are really where the savings kick
in. Even lower power pc-1500 CPUs will not even require active cooling in
certain configurations, but VIA has not released specifications about those
VIA's roadmap details that system affordability for a pc-1 desktop is
approximately $300, though it appears as though no firm price has been set as
many of the components (Northbridge, Southbridge, CPU) appear
interchangeable. All pc-1 CPUs come in ball-grid array (BGA) form; there
is no option to upgrade processors as the CPU is soldered onto the motherboard.
Like AMD's 50x15 and OLPC, pc-1 platforms are designed to run off everything
from AC grids to car batteries. The internal documentation claims the pc-1
PHD reference platform can run on a car battery for up to 20 hours at a time at
full load, with a mere 90W power supply. The company also plans to
announce a solar-power kit for the PHD platform in August of this year.
VIA's internal roadmap reveals the company is almost completely refocusing
itself on CPU-based products with its core logic divisions only consuming a
small part of the company's overall resources. Coupled with the smart
investments over the last few years (VIA is a majority shareholder in the cell phone giant HTC),
the company is certainly poised to make some waves in 2006 and 2007.
quote: The LX is basically the same Geode of the past. (as was made by National Semiconductor, now owned and made by AMD, and renamed as Geode LX).