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VIA Nano ultra-low power processor

Atom smasher?

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The first reason for this is that both the Atom and the Nano desperately need better chipset support than the two systems that we've seen to date.

The second is that neither the Atom nor the Nano has enough performance to convince us of their appeal and we really, really want a dual-core version ASAP.

VIA vs Intel

Intel vs VIA: D945GCLF (left) and Nano reference

Third – and this is the killer – we have no idea how much Nano will cost. VIA address the point thus in its FAQs:

What is the anticipated price point for systems using the VIA Nano processor?
VIA does not set the price for systems or boards… pricing will be decided by our system and board partners…

As VIA SN hardware sells for £150 we see no reason why the same won’t be true for Nano, and that suggests Nano might be three times the price of Atom. Ouch.

VIA Nano logo

If so, it'll be roughly three times the price of a comparable Atom. Yes, the Nano has twice the performance of the Atom - according to PCMark05 - but the premium you pay makes it a much less attractive choice.

Let's hope VIA mobo partners will offer Nano packages for a lot less than £150. If they do, we'd raise the 50 per cent score we'd give the Nano at that price to well above the 55 per cent score we gave to the desktop Atom.

Verdict

From our initial survey, it's clear VIA's Nano is a promising processor. But we were unimpressed by the performance of the CN896 chipset and Chrome9 graphics, and the prospect of a £150 price fills us with horror. VIA, say it ain’t so!

The essential guide to IT transformation

VIA Nano ultra-low power processor

On paper and in testing, VIA's Nano beats Intel's Atom hands down. But the pricing may kill it as a competitor.
Price: TBC RRP

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