VIA is sampling its new low-cost Isaiah processor:
Samples of the Isaiah-architecture-based x86 chips are now being shipped "aggressively" to customers with a release timeframe of May-June, said Glenn Henry, CEO of Centaur Technology, the Via subsidiary that designed the chip. The first generation of Isaiah-based products will be pin-compatible with the C7 processor family and offer two to four times the performance, according to Henry. Fujitsu is manufacturing the chip.
Isaiah is targeted specifically at the low-cost "thin-and-light notebook area," Henry said. The same market segment that Intel is targeting for the upcoming Atom "Silverthorne" processor. (Intel prefers to call this segment "netbooks.")
Isaiah will consume no more than 3.5 watts, while Intel is saying that Atom will range from 0.6 to 2.5 watts. Intel's Atom, however, uses a more simple "in-order execution" design that, in theory, will have lower performance than Isaiah, which uses a superscalar, out-of-order design capable of decoding three full x86 instructions per clock cycle of the processor. (Independent benchmarking, however, will have the final word on which chip actually delivers the best performance.)
A dual-core Isaiah processor will also arrive but details about this chip are slim.