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VIA debuts 700MHz ‘Samuel’ Cyrix III

Paves way for 750MHz-1GHz Samuel II CPUs

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VIA quietly rolled out a 700MHz Cyrix III processor late last week - the last chip to use the company's Samuel design before the introduction of Samuel II.

Like previous Cyrix III parts, the 700MHz chip has 128KB of built-in L1 cache and supports frontside bus speeds of 66, 100 and 133MHz. It also runs Intel MMX and AMD 3D Now! instructions, and uses a Socket 370-compatible connection.

The 700MHz part costs around $62 in units of 100.

Samuel II is set to debut in March, kicking off at 750MHz. It also contains an on-die L2 cache - 64KB in the first production chip, which is expected to be fabbed at .15 micron.

Samuel II's C5B core will soon be joined by its ultimate successor, C5C, which will take the chip to 800MHz and then on to 1GHz and beyond. Samuel two-and-a-bit is due sometime in Q3, and is expected to move quickly to .13 micron.

And it looks like the company is eyeing the mobile market. While nothing has been announced, Samuel II's .15 micron process should cut the chip's power consumption and heat output. Indeed, Dan Havey, VIA's head of marketing in the US, cited by ZDNET US, recently suggested that the company was investigating the new packaging methods needed to ship the chip as a mobile part.

That's by no means conclusive, but the evolution of Samuel II does suggest that VIA has the opportunity to join Intel, AMD and Transmeta if it reckons there's room for it in the mobile x86 market. ®

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