With all the hype around the launch of the new Intel® AtomTM processors, you would have thought that these were the only low power processor options for sub-notebook PC’s. They are not. VIA already has a range of low power processors, and you’ll find one in the HP2133 sub-notebook. The base processor in the HP2133 is a VIA C7-M ULV 1.2GHz and this goes up to 1.6GHz for the top of the range machine, which runs Vista Business. Some of the reviewers of the computer have commented that the machine seems very hot when running, and the fan runs most of the time. The running fan is a large contribution to the low battery life reported on the HP2133.
At Computex, VIA has announced some new processors. They were developed under the codename of Isaiah, but have been rebranded as the VIA Nano processors. They vary in speed from the 1.0 GHz U2300 that has a power consumption of 5 watts to the 1.8 GHz L2100 consuming power at the rate of 25 watts. As a comparison a 25Watt bulb is either very low light, or is one of the new low power usage bulbs. You should notice that the Nano family has the same pin configuration as the C7 processor currently in use in the HP2133. You should expect to see an upgrade to the HP2133 to run the new processors, possible before the end of the summer.
At the moment there are a number of different computer manufacturers and OEM’s that are sitting on the fence before committing to either the AtomTM or the Nano processor for a new range of sub-notebooks. One thing is clear, once sales figures are announced for the various sub-notebooks on the market today, many of these manufacturers will want a slice of the sales. They will wait to see what comes of the theoretical power difference between some real machines running real software. It is one thing to run a processor in test conditions, and another to try it out under the real conditions of day by day computing for real users in differing weather and work conditions.
In the future VIA are looking at producing even faster processors in the Nano family and reducing the power used by the individual processor. There are even ideas for a Nano dual-processor that should please even the most power-hungry user.