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Via Unveils 1-Watt x86 CPU

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the new-and-improved dept.

Power 276

DeviceGuru writes "Taiwanese chip and board vendor Via Technologies has introduced a new ultra-low voltage (ULV) processor aimed at industrial, commercial, and ultra-mobile applications. Touted as the world's most power-efficient x86-compatible CPU, the 500MHz 'Eden ULV 500' processor debuted at an Embedded Systems Conference in Taipei this week. Via says its chip draws a minimum of 0.1 Watts, when idle, and a maximum of 1 Watt, making it a great candidate for consumer electronics devices such as UMPCs, PVRs, and such."

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OMG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341287)

It's full of stars.

Re:OMG (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341899)

Heres sum stuff i h8 bout ppl in general so if ur lyk dis save time and dont reply ok?

1.People who point at their wrist while asking for the time...I kno were my watch is, where the is yours? Do i point at my down below when i ask where the toilet is?

2.People who are willing to get off their bacside to search the entire room for the tv remote cause they refuse to walk 2 the tv and change the channel manually.

3.When people say while watchin a film"did u see that?". NO fool, i paid 4 pounds to come to the cinema and stare at the dam floor.

4.When you are waiting for a bus and someone asks "has the bus been yet?" if the bus came would i be standing her fool.

5.when somethin dramatic happens lyk u get punched in ur face and sum1 says "are u alright?" oh ye im estatic quik call him back tell him 2 punch me again!

goatse.cz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341297)

zomg fp!

jews did wtc (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341307)


  The quiet night lies empty all around me. Upstairs someone snoring loudly, and the house is empty. It is all mine. As long as I am silent I can do whatever I want. Yet another sleepless night is passing by like a commercial on TV. I'm tired but tonight there will be no sleep. Want to know why? No? Well, I didn't except you to. All the lamps in the house are off, it's totally dark and the orange tint from the streetlights outside makes its way inside.

        Without prior provocation, while sitting in front of the computer screen watching anime I suddenly feel a furry arm upon my shoulder, and I realise I am unable to move. On the backyard outside to my left, I notice a weird light is shining. I struggle to get free, but I cannot move. Something moves the chair I am sitting on away, levitating through the air, you know, like they always do in the movies you can catch at five in the morning.

        It's cold and snowy outside, and a discus shaped object is hovering a few meters above ground. They move me, still unable to move inside. A bright light makes it hard for me to see, but soon it all becomes clear as I get used to it all. The trapdoor shuts closed behind us, and we are inside the ship. I do not know if it is from another world...I do not really care. They my paralysed body into a chair, like that a dentist usually has in the examination room, and on a silvery dinner plate I see syringes containing radiant greenish matter. I suspect the worst when I see this...

        The alien women, clad in a blood red dress that I can see through, moves over to me where I sit and pull my discoloured jeans down. Her eyes look tauntingly towards my crotch, where now my erect PENIS protrudes from my sloppily pulled down underpants. I still can't move my arms and legs, but now my head can look around. The room is brightly lit from a huge chandelier directly above me. Why the hell the aliens bothered using such outdated things I have no idea.

        The alien women looks pretty much like an ordinary human, but she has a long fur and huge cat like ears on her head. Had I known of the Internet I would have had a name for those things, but now I didn't know if the Internet. She grabs my hard erect PENIS and shakes it slowly, kneeling down and stretching a cold hand in between my legs. It snarls up around my balls and I try to squirm, but my attempts are futile.

        The gigantic syringe, and fully an inch long, is inserted into the home of my family pride, the two dearest of companions, they which were to bring upon the earth so much joy, perhaps a few new children to molest. The green substance is forced in, and I feel a cold rush merge from the dark underworld.

        The furry alien sits down on my viciously throbbing PENIS, and I feel her wet vaginal fluids march down along my thrusting victory blade. She begins to move up and down, and I feel a odd stinging sensation from my balls, down between my legs where the syringe still is protruding. I am weak and inexperienced, never before having had sex being the loser I am, but anyway I rapidly reach climax, feeling her vividly playful vaginal muscles thrust against my erect rectum-ravager. The hard throbbing cock inside her moist secret cave, to depths never before explored by man...

        And I came! She quickly jumped off my cock as soon as she felt it coming, and I see that green substance pouring out from the top of it like a disastrous volcanic eruption. Before my eyes weird sex scenes flash by, and I know so clearly that this is the happiest day of my life. I come some more, the green stuff mixes with my gloryvic manseed, and I feel so pleased it makes me want to sleep. Like they always do in the movies after having boring sex.

Re:jews did wtc (-1, Flamebait)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341319)

And I thought I was weird.

Re:jews did wtc (-1, Offtopic)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341377)

Mod parent up, not only is the post wildly off topic, but the subject is wildly offtopic from the post. . .so clearly they cancel each other out

I'm kidding, don't mod it up. . .I read it because I was curious. . it's the literal form of goatse...

Re:jews did wtc (0, Offtopic)

IhuntCIA (1099827) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341903)

... yawn

OT: I did wtc. Keep the jews out of it!

laptop anyone (4, Insightful)

IceFox (18179) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341309)

A nice laptop cpu if I ever saw one.

How does it compare? (4, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341379)

How does this chip compare in performance per watt against ARM, PowerPC and the like?

The article doesn't say what socket and interface the chip uses. Are they still on Socket 370?

Re:How does it compare? (5, Informative)

pslam (97660) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341513)

How does this chip compare in performance per watt against ARM, PowerPC and the like?

Pathetically badly. Most modern low power ARM variants are in the range 0.3-0.5mW/MHz. At 500MHz you'd see them chewing up about 150-250mW. Last I checked the Via x86 chips were single issue, so it's not too unfair to compare an ARM11 (or similar) against them. Quite frankly an ARM11 will outperform the Via chip and run lower power.

The idle power figure is a joke. I can't recall the last time I used an ARM chip that idled at 100mW. More like 1-10mW. Still, it's nice to see an x86 chip get into sub-watt territory.

Of course, ARM doesn't run native x86... and that's pretty much the only reason there's such a large market for these Via x86 chips. It's also the reason you never see them in deeply embedded systems where people don't really care so much about what ISA you're running.

Re:How does it compare? (4, Interesting)

dan the person (93490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341831)

I think the popularity is half x86 compatibility(windows users) and half retail cost / availability.

When i was building a linux based PVR, x86 compatibilty was not a deciding factor *. What i wanted was a cheap fanless board that could playback mpeg2 and divx, with a PCI slot for a tuner card, TV-Out, and SATA.

When i was looking there were hundreds of Via C3/C7 based boards from heaps of manufactures, with countless different options. There were one or two ARM and PPC boards, even one with a transmetta CPU, but they didn't have TV-Out, or they had TV-Out but no USB or PCI.

I would have loved to go with another architecture but the market for retail consumers just isn't there.

* Actually, now i've said that i imagine compatibilty of the tuner drivers with non-x86 could be an issue.

Re:How does it compare? (1)

nevvamind (988833) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341947)

Go back to school and learn the basics ..... you just can't compare x86 CPUs with ARM. They're entirely different designs for different purposes for a start x86 is CISC and ARM are RISC ... and ...CISC = more transistors enough said ?

Re:How does it compare? (4, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342023)

Wow, flashback to the 90's. There is really no such thing as RISC or CISC anymore. Even massive general purpose CPU's like the x86 family use cores that are basically RISC by the classical definition, at least at the microop level. Conversely, today's RISC processors have instruction sets that have grown considerably in complexity since the days of true RISC chips.

Your premise is correct that it is an apples to oranges comparison, but not really for the reasons you describe.

Re:How does it compare? (4, Insightful)

Christian Smith (3497) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342169)

There is really no such thing as RISC or CISC anymore. Even massive general purpose CPU's like the x86 family use cores that are basically RISC by the classical definition, at least at the microop level. Conversely, today's RISC processors have instruction sets that have grown considerably in complexity since the days of true RISC chips.


RISC is an instruction set thing, with the caveat that RISC instruction sets lend themselves to pipelined instruction execution as a by product.

Yes, modern x86 processors have RISC like microcode implemented using pipelined cores, but the x86 -> microcode converter is extra logic RISC processors just don't need.

There is no way you can implement an x86 chip in the same number of transistors as a RISC chip like ARM or MIPS, hence this VIA chip having considerably more power draw.

Re:How does it compare? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20342139)

Of course you can compare them. Let's see... ARM CPUs draw less power than x86. There. That wasn't so hard, was it?
How on earth would you decide what CPUs to use for what purposes if you couldn't compare them, because they were different? Is this a 'embrace diversity' PC thing?
x86 remains a good choice if you have to run x86 binaries, like Windows, or if you want good performance at mass-production prices. Apparently 'the world's most power-efficient x86-compatible CPU' still doesn't cut it for embedding. Stating that is not grounds for being sent to reeducation.

Re:How does it compare? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341967)

Problem with the arm stuff is, you cannot get it from retail for a decent price, the via boards at least are available. I agree arm is an excellent solution, and used probably more widely than x86 in sheer numbers, but the problem is it is almost non existent on the pc side of things, the few boards you can get cost a fortune compared to their via counterparts, and while via even is somewhat slower than arm you still have full x86 compatibility and board and processor availability. This is somewhat the same problem powerpc nowadays have, you still can get the boards but they cost way more than their x86 counterparts in retail!

Re:How does it compare? (1)

evanspw (872471) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342085)

Six ARM cores in every iPhone (really!) I use a 1.2GHz C7 as a fanless server CPU. The machine is dead quiet (disk is muffled too) in an open aluminium frame I riveted together. Keeps cool, always on, proven very very reliable.

Re:How does it compare? (1)

flowsnake (1051494) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342167)

It's true, and a real shame that ARM isn't more a more readily-available option for general purpose computing in the standard form factors. Low power consumption and low heat production would be fantastic if I wanted to put together a tiny, silent media centre-style PC. I guess there just isn't the demand for these things, which is a shame from an energy-efficiency view. Iyonix http://www.iyonix.com/ [iyonix.com] sell an ARM-based personal computer, the heritage of which goes back to the ARM-based workstations manufactured by the now-defunct Acorn Computers back in the late 80s to mid 90s. Personally I think they are far too expensive for what you get, and as they use mostly bog-standard PC components I can't imagine they are terribly energy-efficient, but it's nice to have the option at least.

Re:How does it compare? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342185)

Wow, I didn't realize that the ARM manufacturers had made such impressive gains in power efficiency. I know that I'm seeing ARM cores on a lot of ASICs and FPGAs these days, I guess that's why.

-jcr

Re:How does it compare? (1, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341525)

AFAIK all of the Via CPUs are designed to be soldered onto a motherboard.

AFAIK Buswise they used to be compatible with 370. The original Eden 533 and 800 6 years back were actually available in 370 form to be used as a CPU upgrade. There was virtually 0 interest to this form factor and Via dropped it in favour of integrated MB + CPU and soldering the CPU onto the board.

I suspect that you can probably have it done in a socket 370 form. I do not see the point though as most motherboards will not be able to provide the correct voltages and most BIOSes will not have any support for it.

Re:How does it compare? (3, Insightful)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342197)

Eh? Google seems to suggest plenty of Via CPUs are available in socket form.
(Score:4, Wrong)

Re:laptop anyone (4, Interesting)

cnettel (836611) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341385)

Yes and no. If we're going to have a backlit screen anyway (even with LEDs), we can only gain so much by reducing the CPU consumption. Amdahl's law and all that. I think the summary is quite right in pointing out UMPCs and similar devices instead.

A really low-power Dothan or single-core Yonah will sure draw a few multiples of this beast, but they will do so while giving much better performance.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341415)

I think the summary is quite right in pointing out UMPCs and similar devices instead.

Not entirely sure why we specifically need x86 for embedded stuff like PVRs though... It's not like you're having to run something Windows on it, which is tied to specific architectures.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342061)

It's not like you're having to run something Windows on it, which is tied to specific architectures.
And even if you were, you'd probably run Wince, which, last time I checked ran on MIPS, ARM and SuperH (not sure about PowerPC).

Re:laptop anyone (0)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341393)

Would you honestly want only 500Mhz in your laptop? But it would be great if handheld devices could have this much power though, preferably on something like a mini sized tablet (or an over-sized iPhone).

Imagine able to code, run unit tests, access the cvs on the road.. hmmm.. but of course we all know a "better" use of such devices, like in a "quiet, secluded" place...

Re:laptop anyone (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341457)

fine. Put ten of them in the laptop.

And use that electronic paper stuff.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341487)

the glue chipset would take a fair bit of power :)

Re:laptop anyone (2, Funny)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341459)

hmmm.. but of course we all know a "better" use of such devices, like in a "quiet, secluded" place...

Sudoku?

Re:laptop anyone (2, Funny)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341485)

access the cvs on the road
That's a novel, higher form of masochism. BDSM people will love you for the idea and VIA for making it possible.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341531)

Would you honestly want only 500Mhz in your laptop? But it would be great if handheld devices could have this much power though, preferably on something like a mini sized tablet (or an over-sized iPhone).
I'm not sure MHz are a very good absolute measurement of the processing capabilities of this thing...
But it could make a very decent laptop. I used to have a Vaio with a Pentium II 400 (PictureBook) that was quite nice. Not the kind of thing you'd run Vista on but with XFCE it ran like a charm despite having an abysmal battery life.

Re:laptop anyone (2, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341655)

Why not. If you are running an Intel Centrino or Core laptop you most likely having less most of the time.

Centrino as well as any Core derived notebook under Winhoze uses voltage and frequency scaling. It will ramp up to its spec-ed frequency only when pushed really hard and in some laptops only when on AC power. If you want to actually have reasonable battery performance on Linux you end up doing the same using the cpufreq susbsystem. Example from a Core Duo on which I am typing this post:

model name : Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T5600 @ 1.83GHz
stepping : 6
cpu MHz : 229.167

Note the actual CPU frequency above (this is using ondemand kernel governor). It is more than twice less than 500.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342087)

Note the actual CPU frequency above (this is using ondemand kernel governor). It is more than twice less than 500.
If this gets a similar IPC to other VIA CPUs then it's likely that the Core 2 at 229MHz is still faster.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

rikkus-x (526844) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341675)

My laptop's CPU (Pentium M 1.4Ghz) switches down to 600Mhz when it's on battery power. I use VS.NET with ReSharper on medium-sized projects and do Ruby on Rails development. I also use Firefox and play Internet radio. I occasionally notice that it takes longer to load an application than it does on my desktop machine, but apart from that, it's fine.

Yes but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341421)

... does it run Linux ?

Re:laptop anyone (5, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341573)

Not really.

I have used every single Via CPU from the original Eden 533 up to 1.5GHz C7 and IMO the C3-C5 spec Edens are just about useful for a dedicated appliances, small firewalls, small specialised servers and such. They do not have enough grunt for a laptop. The fact that most of them have are shipped bundled with relatively weak video does not really help either. Even the mpeg support on some motherboards cannot really help. Xterm is probably the most you can do with them as far as clients are concerned. Still better than similarly clocked Crusoe though (now that is a drag of all drags).

C7 is a completely different beast. This is probably the best CPU for a corporate laptop out there at the moment. A laptop is worthless without a "link to the mothership". Intel Core and AMD have to use CPU resource to do all of the encryption and decryption. This may amount to 30-40% of your CPU on a 54G wireless lan. Compared to that Via C7 has hardware AES acceleration so you can actually protect your traffic properly while using less than 1% of your CPU. It also has enough grunt to run most common road warrior apps at acceptable speeds. It is a pity it is not available as a laptop choice anywhere outside the far east.

Re:laptop anyone (2, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341781)

Hardware AES? Can OpenSSH use it?

Re:laptop anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341885)

Yes. Theo likes the C7, OpenBSD / OpenSSH were early adopters.
They've also been supported by Linux for quite some time, it appears as /dev/hwrandom.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341925)

By what I remember, yes. And encryption using the included hardware module is faster than most anything else x86 wise (or was when I've seen that benchmark). (But it was slower than mostly anything else in any other non-accelerated encryption tasks).
      I think it was tested under OpenBSD.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341847)

Not really considering most new laptops now are duel core, with 2 ghz each.... And Vista still runs slow on those. For laptops people want Performance of a mid-to high mid range PC. They defiantly don't want 500 mhz where they can run all their cool apps from 1999.

Re:laptop anyone (1)

IkeTo (27776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342031)

Actually I'm more interested in using it as a home server. Home server usually operate 24-hours, with screen off most of the time until you want to use it as a desktop, and mostly used for serving your own home page. In such systems, a 1W PC really makes a huge difference. The next question is, of course, (1) is there any power-efficient hard disk, and (2) is there any way to make sure the disk will not be spinned up more than once a few hours.

Re:laptop anyone (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342129)

``The next question is, of course, (1) is there any power-efficient hard disk, and (2) is there any way to make sure the disk will not be spinned up more then once a few hours.''

(1) Yes. Take a look at 2.5" drives used in laptops, for example. You could also use flash instead of an actual disk. Having done that myself, I must give you a word of warning: don't do flash+usb on Linux. It will hang because of I/O errors every few days. I believe this is due to there being a hardcoded limit on the number of writes somewhere in the Linux drivers involved in this, but it could also be the flaky hardware (VIA SP8000E, never buy that one).

(2) Yes. Run off a ramdisk, and just write changes to your real disk every few hours. Puppy Linux does something like this.

Another thing you will want to look at are efficient power supplies (particularly, ones that are efficient at the low power draw of your machine).

Finally, this being about VIA, you will have to be careful with enabling CPU frequency scaling. The board I have is known to crash when the frequency is changed too often.

Obligatory (1, Redundant)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341397)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these....

Re:Obligatory (2, Insightful)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341427)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these....

So like. . an intel 2 duo that takes a room and miles of cable?

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

threaded (89367) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341645)

Couldn't even keep a dorm room warm. Boo hoo.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341721)

... running off a couple of AAs.

I protest (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341825)

As the first Beowulf comment, it cannot be Redundant.

holy cow! and their 1.5GHz is only 7.5W (5, Interesting)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341433)

My mythtv PVR uses the MII12000 (1.2GHz), which is rated at
20-30W. With HDD, DVD, encoder card etc, it draws 80W on start,
and somewhere between 30-60W when running.

Take 10-20W off my figures by using their 1.5GHz ULV
and you get potentially more processing power at less
than 50W!

I know that VIA chips are pretty feeble (i.e. their 1.5GHz
chip is probably closer to a 1GHz intel chip), but with an
encoder card (dual actually) I can be recording two
channels with the CPU at 10%. Given their mobos have
mpeg decoders on board, I can add watching a DVD or TV
for another 30-40% CPU time.

The only thing is ad-skipping and re-encoding are pretty
slow.

Re:holy cow! and their 1.5GHz is only 7.5W (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341523)

Actually 'pretty feeble' is an understatement, these CPUs are in my expierience _very_ slow. Also forget the mpeg-decoder onboard. Chances are their drivers don't even support their very own chip. Also the documentation for VIA-products is horrible. Sometimes even the most basic tech-sheets are wrong and they often advertise stuff that actually isn't implemented yet.

Strange. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341775)

I construct, install and maintain automatic weather stations at remote sites. They are solar-powered systems usually. I've mostly been using the 533 MHz Edens since they were first released and been very happy with them. Although I don't make much use of the video decoding, I've yet to run into any problems with these CPUs, or mini-ITX systems in general.

No driver issues and the documentation has been more than adequate for my needs. The total cost of these off-the-shelf consumer-level setups is a fraction of that for an equivalent embedded system and can do more than just log and transmit data from a weather station, something techs and operators appreciate when they're working on them at remote locations.

Let's not forget that not everybody is fixated on kick-ass in-car theater systems, or uber-1337 gaming rigs.

Re:holy cow! and their 1.5GHz is only 7.5W (2, Informative)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341801)

Also forget the mpeg-decoder onboard. Chances are their drivers don't even support their very own chip.
Stop spreading bullshit FUD. The MPEG2 decoder hardware has been supported for years now in open source. My MythTV frontend, a Via EPIA M10000 running at 1 GHz uses the MPEG2 decoding hardware when playing back video saved from my backend's Hauppauge PVR 250 hardware mpeg2 encoders just fine with very little CPU usage. The only problems arise when you try playing DivX or MPEG4 streams.

Re:holy cow! and their 1.5GHz is only 7.5W (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341651)

And I feel positively paleolithic. Work provided me with an 8 core Mac Pro, with dual xeon 5365s. The power usage measured at the socket for the entire machine reveals it idles at about 220W. The highest I've had it is 697W while working.

Anyone have any carbon credits handy? Damn.

Re:holy cow! and their 1.5GHz is only 7.5W (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341987)

I'm not sure if using a horde of those new processors would give you better performance for lower power use.
Again, these things might be included into a new variant of the 128-processors-supercomputer in an ATX form factor. Power-wise, it should fit the bill, and it might even be more powerful than the 96-processors supercomputer under the desk Orion DS-96 (http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID= 231)

Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? (1, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341463)

Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? 64W + some additional overhead shouldn't be bad.

Re:Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341499)

That additional overhead will amount to quite a lot, and performance in most applications scales sublinearly with amount of processors.

IOW, I'd take a Core2 quad core over 64 Vias anyday.

Re:Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? (1)

dcapel (913969) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341505)

Ignoring the nickle and dime losses you'd have just by design, you run in to the same old problem: What are bad at writing for multiple cores/cpus.

Concurrency is perhaps the biggest problem to modern day CS.

If we could figure out how to use all those cores effectively, it would be awesome. Until then, its of dubius as a archaeticture

Re:Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341517)

Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? 64W + some additional overhead shouldn't be bad.
Presumably because they need to have some space left on the motherboard to put all the rest of the stuff, like memory, controllers, expansion slots, etc. If the CPU takes all the motherboard it's not practical.

Re:Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341547)

So make the mother board bigger.

Re:Why not make 64 of these on a single chip? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342073)

There is a reasonable extreme to this though, why not a 2P or 4P setup though? Make it so you can fully shut off (re: relay) other cores. That'd rock. Of course I don't know what their cache is like but it'd have to be a decent size to make it worthwhile.

Tom

Cool! (3, Interesting)

Zubinix (572981) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341511)

Put this in SBC (Single Board Computer) form together with wireless support and a nice sized flash hard drive would make it ideal for applications such as home monitoring and other uses around the typical house for us home automation geeks.

Re:Cool! (2, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341769)

ARM11 is already better for that kind of application - much lower power still, and for embedded stuff, the need for x86 compatibility really doesn't exist.

Re:Cool! (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341937)

Not to mention this thing would be great in crash cart like equipment. For instance with one of these I could have my crash cart, my Fireberd 8000, and a whole suite of test equipment all in one easy to manage package. It would have to be a specialty built system, but the reason I like these with their low power requirement means that a cart with a good battery can run all this for a while and I don't have to rely on rack power or pulling a tile to get at one of the power mains underneath.

Sounds like an overclocker's dream (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341553)

I wonder, how far can these things be overclocked? Certainly there shouldn't be a problem with cooling, so it should be possible to push these things to the maximum they're capable of.

Re:Sounds like an overclocker's dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341673)

Sure cooling might not be a problem, but when you open your eyes you end up with a via cpu (i.e not even half the IPC of a decent intel/amd cpu), running on a very small motherboard with the most crippled BIOS ever, with a VIA chipset

overclockers mostly care about high performance, and sadly, via and performance are mutually exclusive

i had a via epia M10000n (C3 nehemiah chip at 1 GHz) a few years back, the thing would get beaten by a 500 MHz Pentium 3, and only barely managed to beat a fast clocked P2. Then take into acount the huge IPC improvements intel has made to the P6 architecture since the P3 days (the comparison was even to a P3 katmai with off-die cache, just imagine this thing versus a 1 GHz coppermine) and you seen realise that a cpu like this is only suited for embedded stuff like PDAs, in which case a RISC cpu is much more interesting then an x86 design

Its nice to see Via still doing their thing, but these things are at least an order of magnitude slower then a $100 consumer level cpu

if you want to see what this would be in a laptop, find an old P2 233/266 laptop and imagine not having to recharge as often

Re:Sounds like an overclocker's dream (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341741)

overclockers mostly care about high performance, and sadly, via and performance are mutually exclusive


Oh, I don't doubt performance will be crap. It's just curiosity about how far you could push something that would be just fine with a heatsink, if it needs it at all.

It seems that it takes liquid nitrogen to really squeeze out everything possible out of a normal Intel/AMD, but that can't be kept up for very long, and is very expensive to try.

Re:Sounds like an overclocker's dream (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342055)

I suppose you could push the 1W, 500MHz processor to the 1.5GHz of its brethren, assuming you would have the technical possibility to do so (BIOS, increased voltage, chipset support). More than that? Hardly, with a processor built for low power consumption

Re:Sounds like an overclocker's dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341999)

The FPU on the C3 sucks. IIRC it runs at half core clock. The C7 is still significantly slower for most things than an Intel/AMD CPU at the same clock (except encryption, where it's ridiculously fast) but it's a definite improvement. It's just a shame they're not a bit cheaper, but I suppose it's hard competing with Intel/AMD when they're in a price war.

PVRs? (2, Insightful)

ffejie (779512) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341555)

Without actually taking the time to do any calculations, shouldn't this chip be a little weak to be powering PVRs and other media devices? With the proliferation of HD, I see more and more people (thankfully) going to h.264 to reduce their file sizes. However, to play a 720p file that is encoded with h.264, you need some serious punch in the processing realm. Recording/encoding to h.264 is a level far beyond that. I don't have the specs in front of me, but even the most minimal player is going to require more than 500 MHz. Now, if you're talking about a few of these in one system you may be on the right track. Anyone have more experience than me in this kind of thing and can comment further?

Re:PVRs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341633)

However, to play a 720p file that is encoded with h.264, you need some serious punch in the processing realm.

Can't you leave that to the video card [nvidia.com] ?

Re:PVRs? (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341905)

Your right, I recently tried to build a Media Centre out of old computer parts, I built a:

700Mhz Intel Pentium 3
512mb SDram
Nvidia 5200
Avermedia TV card

Windows Media Centre was barely able to run on the machine taking recordings was pointless using windows media centre or the avermedia PVR software. This 500Mhz chip would definitly not be enough, the 1Ghz and 1.5Ghz chips would do it though and even at 7.5watts the 1.5Ghz is redicoulously low power.

Re:PVRs? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342133)

If you want a very low power PVR, you would probably use dedicated MPEG-1/2/4(including H.264) hardware, which would use less power than a general purpose CPU doing the same thing. Mind you, you'd probably use something like a PowerPC 405 instead of an x86 chip.

Redundand? (3, Insightful)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341571)

Isn't everybody always complaining how x86 is an awefull archtecture dragging 20 years of backward compatibility like a block of concrete? A one watt processor surely aims at the mobile/embedded market. Backward compatibility is not an issue there. I can't see anybody running his old Windows 3.11 accounting software on his mobile, and this thing won't come with a "Vista-ready" sticker...
Linux and Windows CE (or whatever they call it today) run just fine on ARM and similar. Will a low-power x86 compete performance-wise with a low-power RISK architecture?

Re:Redundand? (1)

voxel (70407) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341621)

This is targeted to Windows 2000 and Windows XP running on a ULV CPU. At the same time it can handle Linux with every major popular distribution, where as an ARM cpu while it can run linux, is less flexible.

The x86 architecture does drag a lot of baggage, but Intel, AMD and possibly VIA seem to have figured out how to deal with it by now. Look at the Core 2 Duo compared to the performance of any Itanium processor or what not.

I think the baggage isn't really a big deal anymore as it used to be.

Re:Redundand? (1)

acalthu (1045630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341725)

..RISC

Re:Redundand? (2, Interesting)

aclarke (307017) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341819)

There are lots of uses for a CPU like this. I, for example, run a VIA CPU/mobo in my truck. It draws very little current which means my auxilliary battery will run the computer for a lot longer. It also produces less heat than my AMD/Intel options, which means the computer needs no fans, which also saves power and keeps the system quieter. I run Windows XP on there as pretty much all the good GPS software runs on Windows. An ARM chip wouldn't do me much good there, unfortunately.

I agree though, this chip is never going to be the financial success that the Core2 is.

Re:Redundand? (1)

Woy (606550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342119)

I'll pay twice as much for a Linux mobile computing device where i don't have to recompile. Not that i hate recompilation, I just don't want to be bothered with the times it goes wrong.

I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on power (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341583)

I wish the EU would start rating PCs by their energy consumption, perhaps accompanied by an energy tax for the worst categories. The amount of power in a modern PC from CPUs & GPUs wasted as heat, fans etc. is just ridiculous.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341701)

To clarify, if the EU slapped a tax on the worst offending PCs, it might focus consumers and the industry on producing more efficient designs. Most domestic appliances such as fridges and dishwashers already get rated in the EU and it clearly does shape people's decisions.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (1)

sniepre (517796) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341811)

That is like saying that there should be a tax on buying a non-econobox car.

Yes, some people want to buy a video card that requires some amps to play the current games. Some people want to buy a car that performs well. (I'm not talking about SUVs or huge waste hogs)

Everyone pays for the power they consume, be it gasoline or electricity. Who cares?

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (5, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341917)

Everyone pays for the power they consume, be it gasoline or electricity. Who cares?

Exactly. Who cares? People are generally selfish and sometimes you must do things that benefit people as a whole instead of individuals. If slapping a tax on the most energy consuming devices in some category causes people to buy the more efficient ones, that is a benefit to every one. If you still want to buy that device despite the tax then nobody is stopping you. But I guarantee that for everyone who does than many more will choose one which doesn't.

It does not mean either that you're getting a crappier machine as a result. While there is a relationship between CPU / GPU performance and power, I doubt it is a 1:1 mapping. Some processors and GPUs are going to deliver more operations per watt than others. Companies and consumers should be encouraged to favour the more efficient designs over the less efficient designs and a tax for the worst offenders in any class is one way of going about that.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (2, Insightful)

XedLightParticle (1123565) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341919)

Not sure if parent was a joke, but i found it funny.

In some EU countries economic cars have less yearly tax already, I think it's calculated from the CO2 emission pr. km.
And cars that can't perform 15km/l or more, have had their price tax raised, while longer running ones have had it reduced.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (2, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341949)

Ireland sets the rate of annual motor tax based on the size of the vehicle engine. Someone with a 1.6 litre engine pays over a hundred more euros than someone with a 1.3 litre engine. It's probably explains why SUVs are quite scarce in Ireland. Which isn't a bad thing at all.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342033)

1.6L is considered big? I have a 2L 4cyl Focus in Canada, and that's considered "small" by our standards. Not that I really push my car, but I am curious as to how a 1.3L accelerates [to say hwy speeds]. Because even in my car I have to really floor it [re: 5000 RPM] to hit highway speeds before I exit the ramp, well that's exaggerating a bit. usually I hit speed before the dotted lines (that let you get out of the merging lane). So I probably could accelerate at like 3-4K RPM just fine.

A 1.3L must be near redline though to go from say 40km/h to 100km/h on an onramp.

Tom

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342195)

1.6L is considered big? I have a 2L 4cyl Focus in Canada, and that's considered "small" by our standards. Not that I really push my car, but I am curious as to how a 1.3L accelerates [to say hwy speeds].

Very nicely, actually. Bear in mind that these engines are in what you'd consider to be small cars; typically two- or four-door hatchbacks. I used to have a Ford Fiesta with a 1.4l engine (IIRC), and while admittedly I'm a conservative driver, I had no complaints about acceleration. (There is one hill near where I live which it didn't like going up in third, but that was about it.)

A 1.3L must be near redline though to go from say 40km/h to 100km/h on an onramp.

Unfortunately my old Fiesta didn't have a rev counter, but peak torque was at about roughly 4 thou IIRC; the gearboxes are calibrated so that 70mph in fifth makes the engine run near peak efficiency, which is usually a bit below peak torque. I'd accelerate from 30mph to about 60 in third gear at a little above that, and then change down to fifth once I was up to speed in the slow lane. It was definitely pushing the engine above normal town driving, but not overly so.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (2, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342203)

I mentioned 1.6L more as a way of showing that the scale goes up proportional with engine size. I have a 1.3L car (a Citroen C4 coupe) which has no trouble at all on Irish roads even with passengers. Naturally there are still luxury vehicles, SUVs on the roads, but the overall emphasis is generally on what Americans probably call compacts - hatchbacks, saloons and so on. Most of those are probably 1.6L or less with a lot of 1.3, 1.2 and 1.1 size engines. If you drive around in a 3L SUV in Ireland you're going to be raped by the tax man.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341933)

That is like saying that there should be a tax on buying a non-econobox car.
Yes. Exactly.

Everyone pays for the power they consume, be it gasoline or electricity. Who cares?
Those who understand that money is not everything.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342083)

I wish people would stop encouraging the government to administer my life.

Re:I wish mainstream CPUs / GPUs would focus on po (0, Flamebait)

hauntingthunder (985246) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342201)

Did you forget to put your fraking brain in this morning certain componats require a certain level of power or they wont work or wil lfail potentialy in a dangerous way.

How does it compare to AMD Geode, then? (1)

tzot (834456) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341605)

http://www.amd.com/us-en/ConnectivitySolutions/Pro ductInformation/0,,50_2330_9863_9864,00.html [amd.com]

I'm sure that the AMD CPU has better performance per MHz than the VIA one, although I didn't bother to find facts about that.

Re:How does it compare to AMD Geode, then? (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342171)

Yes, the Geode has generally better performance per MHz than even the VIA C7, according to this comparison of Celeron, VIA C7, and AMD Geode [tolly.com] . Geode beat the VIA C7 on the SPECint and SPECfp at performance per MHz, but VIA C7 beat the Geode slightly at performance per MHz in the CPU score in that article. The article also notes the Geode does not support SSE instructions. On the other hand, Geode also seems to use more power per MHz than VIA's chips, according to the Wikipedia article on Geode [wikipedia.org] .

On a somewhat related note (2, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341619)

Soekris is now shipping a New and Improved product, the net5501 [soekris.com] . Early reports suggest that this is their first product that's able to route at line speed. I have two on order that I should receive next week.

The release of Vista suggests that we need more and more powerful systems to do our work, but the irony, at least for me, is that I keep buying more of the little guys. Being able to use fanless cases and/or flash drives is a definite selling point, but there's a surprising amount of processing power available in such products and their uses are as limitless as your own imagination. Besides, hacking those ubiquitous blue boxes can never be as satisfying as building your own.

The VIA units I own could be described as underpowered, but having onboard MPEG decoders, for example, can make up for the shortcomings.

Re:On a somewhat related note (1)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341763)

What does 'route at line speed' mean?
Can you mount the board in a regular ATX case?
Can it be hooked up to a regular ATX PSU?
Who is Soekris? Do you work for them? What's the warranty like?
Does it run Linux? I mean really. lspci output?
Is there video out? How do you 'interact'? COM port?

Seems interesting, but not enough to trawl the website!

Re:On a somewhat related note (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342101)

"Route at line speed"? I don't know
Mount the board in a regular ATX case? I think it comes with a case.
Same with ATX PSU.
Power consumption is (I suppose) in the tens of watts maximum, so ATX PSU is overkill.
  I know Soekris as they make boxes which can run OpenBSD and their PF firewalling solution.
  If it runs OpenBSD, then you can find some Linux for it.
Once installed, you can access it by network (it has two or three LAN interfaces).

Besides its pad power/watt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341659)

It should make things much easier for people to install linux and write apps. Imagine being able to buy a dvr, install linux on it, and start running some software you downloaded... or better yet, something you wrote yourslef.

they'll be glad to hear this! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20341729)

and all the time they were sucking rubber dicks! fucking linux losers.

Will this scale? (1)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341883)

The TFA has a chart which shows a 1.5Ghz part with a 7.5W TDP. That's 3x the mhz for 7.5x the power. Will VIA's technology scale relatively easily, say a 2.5Ghz chip with 20W TDP?

FIRST 1Watt device? (1)

MikShapi (681808) | more than 7 years ago | (#20341957)

I seem to have had the impression that my Soekris firewalls, running a National (today AMD) Geode SC1100 at 266MHz, a P1-class CPU that, coupled with 3 100MBit NICs, 128MB of RAM, IDE, USB etc eat a whopping 3-5 Watts for the entire machine, was x86.

The FreeBSD kernel I run on them seems to think so too.

Kudos to Via for taking ULV to a whole new level and giving us P2-class performance in that watt range, but this is by no means revolutionary, just evolution that allows us to do more with a ULV box.

Re:FIRST 1Watt device? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342193)

I seem to have had the impression that my Soekris firewalls, running a National (today AMD) Geode SC1100 at 266MHz, a P1-class CPU that, coupled with 3 100MBit NICs, 128MB of RAM, IDE, USB etc eat a whopping 3-5 Watts for the entire machine, was x86.
I have a WRAP machine based on a 266MHz Geode. It is not a P1-class machine, it's a fast 486, with some minor tweaks, but still a fairly nice CPU given that it's x86. I believe some of the new Geodes (500MHz sort of speed) are based on a newer design, which is 586-class.

The FreeBSD kernel I run on them seems to think so too.
OpenBSD runs very nicely on them too, which makes them ideal for firewalls. Recently, OpenBSD dropped support for i386, in the basis that it cluttered up the tree (potentially hiding bugs) and only half a dozen people were using it. A lot of people commented that they should not do the same thing for 486-class CPUs, since OpenBSD ran on a huge number of Geode systems.

Real Low-Power CPUs (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342045)

``Via says its chip draws a minimum of 0.1 Watts, when idle, and a maximum of 1 Watt, making it a great candidate for consumer electronics devices such as UMPCs, PVRs, and such."''

Of course, in consumer electronics devices, you could just use any kind of MIPS or ARM or whatever other CPU you want, and have even lower power usage and/or better performance. It's not like you're gonna be running Windows on these devices, anyway, which is pretty much the only reason you would need an x86 in my book.

Happy (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342173)

It makes me happy that someone is still catering to those who realize they don't need more CPU power and would rather, say, save money, or save the environment.

x86 compatible, yes (1)

Almahtar (991773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20342183)

but just what is "x" in this case? I mean, it'd be ridiculous if it was 286 of course because we'd need protected mode and 32 bit support to be even remotely relevant to today's software market. Oh, and TFA mentions it running XP, so yeah definitely at least 386 (my uni currently had a project to get XP running on a 386 and it succeeded - naturally slow as crap). But there's still a pretty decent gap between 386 and 486, 486 and 5x86 (Pentiumish level), and each subsequent iteration.

I mean, 500 MHTZ with MMX and SSE 1, 2 and 3 is vastly different from 500 MHTZ with just 386 level support. Just look at how Athlons destroyed P4's with an even similar clock speed for another example of how MHTZ aren't a definitive measure. I'd like to know more about these CPUs when it comes to performance.
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