VIA Isaiah architecture - twice as efficient, runs Crysis

Posted on Thursday, Jan 24 2008 @ 15:06 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
VIA flexes its muscles today with the launch of their 64-bit Isaiah x86 processor architecture. The firm claims this new chip delivers double the performance while consuming the same amount of power as its predecessor. The Isaiah CN processors will be made on a 65nm process and will feature clockspeeds of up to 2GHz and FSBs up to 1333MHz.

The first real silicon will be available toward the middle of the year, it will be pin-compatible with the current VIA C7 processors and if it's as good as VIA claims it might be an interesting chip for UMPCs and low-end applications. The chip runs Windows Vista and HardOCP reports they saw a 1GHz CN processor decode Blu-ray HD video without any problem and says that they saw a demo of a 1.8GHz CN processor running Crysis!
Designed from the ground up by the company's US-based processor design subsidiary, Centaur Technology Inc., the VIA Isaiah Architecture combines all the latest advances in x86 processor technology, including a 64-bit superscalar speculative out-of-order microarchitecture, high-performance multimedia computation, and a new virtual machine architecture. The first generation of Isaiah-based products will be pin-compatible with the VIA C7 processor family, enabling a smooth transition for system builders and providing them with an easy upgrade path for current designs.

The first processors implementing the VIA Isaiah Architecture will use proven 65 nanometer technology for greater power efficiency, which, combined with new enhanced power and thermal management capabilities, will ensure the best performance per watt on the market and help drive the rapidly emerging categories of green, silent and small form factor desktop PCs and home media centers, and ultra thin and light notebooks and mini-notes.

VIA Isaiah architecture highlights:
- 64-bit Superscalar Speculative Out-Of-Order MicroArchitecture
The VIA Isaiah Architecture comprises a host of advanced architectural features, including a superscalar and out of order architecture, macro-fusion and micro-fusion functionality, and sophisticated branch prediction, that significantly improve processor efficiency and performance. In addition, it also features a full and unrestricted 64-bit instruction set with plenty of headroom to support 64-bit operating systems and applications as they become available, and a new virtual machine architecture for running systems more securely and efficiently in virtual environments.

- High-Performance Computation and Media Processing
As well as support for clock speeds of up to 2GHz in initial products and a high-speed, low power Front Side Bus scalable from 800MHz up to 1333MHz, the VIA Isaiah Architecture also has a highly-efficient cache subsystem with two 64KB L1 caches and 1MB exclusive L2 cache with 16-way associativity for more effective memory optimization.

For further enhanced multimedia performance, the VIA Isaiah Architecture also integrates the world’s fastest x86 processor Floating Point Unit (FPU) with the ability to execute four floating point adds and four multiplies per clock and also featuring a new algorithm that minimizes latency. Support for new SSE instructions and a 128-bit wide integer data path further boost multimedia performance.

- Advanced Power and Thermal Management
To minimize energy consumption and reduce heat, the VIA Isaiah Architecture utilizes new low power circuit techniques and in addition to aggressive management of active power includes support for the new "C6" power state, in which power is turned off to the caches.

Extensive Adaptive PowerSaver™ Technology features further reduce power consumption and improve thermal management, including the unique TwinTurbo™ dual-PLL implementation, which acts like automatic transmission in permitting smooth transitions between activity states within one clock cycle, ensuring always-on service and minimize latency, as well as new mechanisms for managing the die temperature.

- Scalable Upgrade to VIA C7™ Processor
The VIA Isaiah Architecture is pin-to-pin compatible with the current VIA C7 processor family, enabling OEMs and motherboard makers to transition to the new architecture smoothly, and to fulfill a wider range of market segments with a single board or system design.

- VIA PadLock™ Hardware Security Features
To enhance the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of electronic data, the VIA Isaiah Architecture incorporates industry-leading on-die hardware cryptographic acceleration features within the VIA PadLock Security Engine, including the world's best random number generator (RNG), an AES Encryption Engine, SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing for secure message digests for data integrity, and a new specialized “secure execution mode” that includes features such as a secure on-chip memory area and encrypted instruction fetching.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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