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VIA to unveil world's smallest x86 chip

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VIA will today take the wraps off a more compact version of its Eden embedded processor, the Eden-N, which it claims is the world's smallest x86 chip. Built into a "nanoBGA" package, the processor measures just 1.5 x 1.5cm.

Like VIA's 130nm C3 line of desktop and notebook processors, the Eden-N is based on the company's Nehemiah x86 core. The new chip features an updated version of that architecture which adds a second hardware random number generator and adds an AES acceleration engine which VIA claims encrypts data at up to 12.5Gbps at 1GHz - more than eight times faster than the "best" software-based AES encoder for the 3GHz Pentium 4.

Both components are bundled into VIA's PadLock security technology, which uses on-chip electrical noise as the basis for its random number seed.

The Nehemiah core is based on a 16-stage pipeline and includes a full-speed floating-point unit and support for Intel's SSE instructions. It contains 64KB of on-die L2 cache.

The Eden-N will ship clocked to 533MHz, 800MHz and 1GHz, with typical power consumption ratings of 4W, 6W and 7W, respectively. That's comparable to both Transmeta's TM5800 and Intel's Ultra-low Voltage Pentium.

The VIA Eden-N processor is sampling now and is expected to start appearing in products during Q1 2004. ®

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