Via's upcoming processor to be called C7

Via Technologies' next generation of desktop microprocessors, based on the Esther processor core, will be called C7, the company said Thursday.

Mobile versions of the chip will be called C7-M.

The first C7 and C7-M chips, which will be produced by IBM using a 90-nanometer (nm) process, will ship in volume during the first half of next year, said Richard Brown, Via's associate vice president of marketing, noting that samples of the C7 will be available before volume production begins next year.

That is largely in line with comments made by Steven Lee, the head of Via's Embedded Platform Division, in January. At that time, Lee said the first chips based on the Esther core would go into production during the second half of 2004.

The 90nm process will allow Via to produce faster chips that require less power. The company expects that C7 chips with a clock speed of 2GHz that consume the same amount of power as the company's current C3 processors, which are based on the Nehemiah core. C3 processors consume a maximum of around 18 watts at a clock speed of 1.2GHz, according to the company's Web site.

In addition to consuming less power at the same clock speeds as C3 chips, the C7 will include support for a faster 800MHz front-side bus and a larger Level 2 cache.

The C7 also extends Via's PadLock Hardware Security Suite to include execution (NX) protection, which prevents malicious code from a worm or virus propagating through a PC's memory. NX protection is supported by Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Via plans to continue selling its C3 processor after the introduction of the C7, and has taken the step of renaming the mobile version of the C3, now calling the chips C3-M. The company has not changed its naming convention for microprocessors that consume seven watts or less in power. These chips will continue to be called Eden, the company said.

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