VIA is developing a dual-core x86 processor that should be available for launch by June 2005. If the company is able to launch this CPU in June then it would be the first company to release an x86 dual-core processor.
"We're pretty confident we'll have something by the end of Q2 next year," said Richard Brown, Via's associate vice-president of marketing.
The twin-core processor is primarily designed to be used in high-density server clusters. Via has demonstrated that two processors can fit onto a small Mini-ITX motherboard and so manufacturers could offer a standard 1U server chassis containing two Mini-ITX motherboards running four twin-core processors, Brown said.
Via's twin-core processor contains two pieces of silicon - each with one Esther processor core on it - inside a single-chip package. By comparison, dual-core processors being developed by AMD and Intel put two cores on a single piece of silicon.
The Esther cores are manufactured on a 90nm process by IBM. These 32-bit chips consume only 3.5W when they run at 1GHz and are able to scale up to 2GHz.
Esther also incorporates Via's PadLock security technology that offers hardware-accelerated RSA encryption and support for execution protection anti-virus technology.
Via has not finalised the clock speed of the cores that will be used in the twin-core chips, Brown said.