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VIA announces 64-bit x86 processor

'Isaiah' to battle Athlon 64, EM64T-based P4 etc.

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VIA today announced its upcoming 'Isaiah' core, its pitch at the emerging 64-bit x86 CPU market founded by AMD.

While AMD is targeting more mainstream computing applications, VIA's 64-bit part will be pitched at digital media processing roles.

Typically, VIA was vague about what will make Isaiah particularly suitable for such applications, beyond the usual faster front-side bus, more cache, faster floating-point maths, out-of-order processing and a superscalar design, all of which could be applied to plenty of existing processors, x86-compatible or otherwise.

However, Isaiah will see improvements made to VIA's PadLock hardware-based security engine, and with apps like "decrypting a digital media stream while simultaneously displaying its contents in an ultra-high resolution format on an HDTV" in mind, PadLock is likely to play a key role in the new chip.

Isaiah will also continue VIA's focus on low-power processors, the better to sell them to set-top box and other consumer electronics kit makers than into PCs.

The Isaiah core is expected to be available H1 2006. In the meantime, the company is set to ship its 'Esther' processor - officially branded the C7 - sometime during H1 2005, in mobile and desktop forms. C7 is VIA's first 90nm CPU. The company didn't specify Isaiah's fabrication process. ®

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