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VIA C7-M Processor Preview

VIA C7-M Processor Preview - PCSTATS
Abstract: VIA has designed the C7-M with low power requirements and software security as the biggest areas of emphasis.
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: VIA Aug 09 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > VIA C7-M

VIA's C7-M Processor Lineup

Like Intel and AMD, VIA has opted to use a cryptic naming scheme for its mobile processors, divorced from any practical subjects like processor speed. Let's take a look at the initial release of the tiny C7-M series:

C7-M 795: 2.0GHz, 533MHz bus
C7-M 785: 1.8GHz, 533MHz bus
C7-M 765: 1.6GHz, 533MHz bus
C7-M 754: 1.5GHz, 400MHz bus

All processors here are built with the 90nm SOI manufacturing process, and the NanoBGA2 packaging mentioned above. Future versions of the VIA C7-M will migrate to an 800MHz bus, though VIA has not mentioned anything about speed grades above 2.0GHz.

Chipsets for the VIA C7-M Processor

Unsurprisingly, only VIA is currently making chipsets for the VIA C7-M processor. It currently has three initial offerings:

VIA VN800: This chipset will feature FSB speeds of 400MSHz, 533MHz and 800MHz with support for both DDR and DDR2 memory. It will use VIA's Unichrome Pro graphics processor with MPEG 2 decoding support.

VIA VN600:This chipset will also feature FSB speeds of 400MSHz, 533MHz and 800MHz with DDR and DDR2 RAM support. The Unichrome Pro graphics adaptor is again featured, this time with a DVI output and TV-out. Other Additions are SATA support, HD audio courtesy of VIA's Vinyl audio.

VIA VN600-M: Same as the VN-600 with the addition of HDTV-out abilities and MPEG 2/4/WMV9 acceleration.

VIA seems to be consciously working to compensate for the weaker aspects of the VIA C7-M processor by integrating certain features into the above chipsets. The addition of MPEG acceleration and the capable VIA Vinyl audio codec to the capabilities of the processor should make for much more well-rounded and multimedia capable ultra-light notebooks. Sadly, none of the above chipsets support PCI Express in any way, shape or form. While this is irrelevant in the current laptop market, the same is unlikely to be true in a few months time.

An Interesting Dark Horse

VIA's desktop chipset business has been on the decline for a while, and the companies previous lines of processors have caused barely a ripple in world markets. Unfortunately, low power consumption and heat are not a primary concern of most desktop computer consumers and the C3-M mobile processor was just not powerful enough to compete with other mobile processor alternatives. The VIA C7-M shares its predecessor's excellent thermal and power characteristics, but it might just be powerful enough to become a VIAble third option for notebooks in which battery life and portability is a major concern.

The Padlock co-processor's security and encryption features are interesting, but not particularly applicable to most consumer applications (except for the NX bit technology). In certain business environments or in a more paranoid future though, they may latch on well enough to become standard features in other company's processors. We'll be interested to see how and if the Padlock speeds up applications using RSA and IPSEC encryption.

The VIA C7-M's tiny size and thermal capabilities will definitely help it's chances in the laptop market, though the lack of PCI Express support in VIA's chipset lineup will not. As things appear now, look for VIA C7-M CPUs to appear in ultra-portable and budget laptops near you before the end of the year. As we said earlier in the article, Transmeta's demise has left a hole in the laptop market which VIA seems well-positioned to fill.

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< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com CPU / Processors News»

 

Contents of Article: VIA C7-M
 Pg 1.  VIA C7-M Processor Preview
 Pg 2.  VIA C7-M Power Saving Features
 Pg 3.  — VIA's C7-M Processor Lineup

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