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VIA unveils C7-M notebook processor

Firm's 'Esther' core goes mobile

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Computex 2005 VIA has announced a mobile version of its C7 processor, following that chip's launch last week.

The Taiwanese chip maker is pitching the C7-M at thin'n'light notebooks. Like its desktop-directed sibling, the mobile part will be fabbed by IBM using its 90nm silicon-on-insulator process. There's 128KB of L2 cache on the die, which also includes decoders for Intel's SSE, SSE 2 and SSE 3 multimedia instruction-set extensions. VIA's own PadLock hardware-accelerated security system is on board too, as per the C7, and there's the usual 'no execute' bit support.

For mobile applications, the C7-M contains VIA's PowerSaver power conservation system, which throttles back the core's frequency and voltage when the chip's workload lessens. VIA claimed PowerSaver will cut the chip's power consumption by up to 50 per cent, the better to preserve a portable computer's battery charge.

Idling, the C7-M consumes down to 0.1W. Clocked to 2GHz it consumes 20W, VIA said.

In a bid to get a look in alongside Intel's Centrino, AMD promotes its Turion mobile processor as Wi-Fi compatible. VIA made the same claim about the C7-M, even going to far as to announce its readiness for 802.11n, the as-yet-undefined next-generation Wi-Fi specification.

VIA said it was already shipping samples of the C7-M. Volume production will commence at the end of the month. While the C7-M will go up to 2GHz - sources close to the company even suggest it will clock to 2.4GHz - VIA will initially offer the part at around 1.5GHz. The company did not provide a timetable for the availability of 2GHz versions. ®

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