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VIA readies x86 Isaiah II 64-bit quad-core processor

by Mark Tyson on 8 July 2014, 12:45

Tags: VIA Technologies (TPE:2388), PC

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Reports suggest that VIA Technology is readying a sequel to its 2008 vintage Isaiah x86 compatible processor. Recently VIA seems to have been concentrating on ARM designs so it's interesting to see it come back to the x86 fold. The new 64-bit x86 Isaiah II quad-core processor is aimed at the same low-power territory as the Intel Atom Bay Trail or AMD Kabini processors. So it looks like VIA must see an opportunity to win orders for Windows tablets, 2-in-1s and other portables.

The key specs of the VIA Isaiah II include:

  • 64-bit x86 CPU
  • 28nm manufacture
  • 4 cores
  • Extensions to AVX2
  • 4MB L2 cache
  • 2GHz maximum clock speed

A contributor to a Czech tech forum, ExtraHardware, posted a set of SiSoft Sandra benchmarks which are tabulated below (chart from TechPowerUp) for your convenience:

We hear that the VIA chip was running at 2GHz on a VIA motherboard with its own chipset, the VIA VX11H. The comparison pits it against a 2.05GHz AMD Athlon 5350 quad-core 'Jaguar' and a 2.4GHz Intel Atom Z3770 quad-core 'Silvermont' processor.

Looking at the results above its impressive to see the VIA processor beat the Intel competitor (2W SCP) in every test even with lower clock speeds and also to be highly competitive with the (25W TDP) AMD chip. What would have been really good, to help make sense of the data and performance comparisons (as hinted by the previous brackets), is some TDP information for the VIA chip.

The VIA Isaiah II, designed by VIA's Centaur Technology subsidiary, looks set to arrive on 31st August (or 1st September Taiwan time) this year. There's a heavy hint at the upcoming relaunch of x86 competition, on the Centaur website, where a clock is counting down to that date – 54 days away…

HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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It's been a VERY long time since I used a VIA chip or motherboard and something major would have to happen for me to do so again!

Worst motherboard chipsets ever IMO. Worst x86 CPUs I've ever seen as well. Waiting to be converted!
If it's got a decent gpu, or at least a decent video engine on the gpu this could be a good system for a home media centre/server.
I remember the original VIA Atom killer… that accomplished nothing
… Worst x86 CPUs I've ever seen as well. …

Surely that depends on what you've been using it for? AFAIK until the first round of Nanos had the Isaiah core, all of Via's designs were still a low-power in-order core not unlike very early Atoms. They were targeted at the industrial market and did very well there indeed: they were never really intended for consumer use. As to their chipsets, most of my Socket A builds were Via based and I found them very stable and well featured.

Reviews of their Nano X2 itx boards were quite favourable compared to price and TDP equivalent AMD and Intel options, and they were certainly more than sufficient for everyday computing. Given they already had a reasonably performant x86 core in the right TDP envelope and both Intel and AMD were busy driving performance down in favour of low-power efficiency, it's not that surprising to see them launch a revision of that core - the way the x86 market is moving now pretty much plays directly to where Via were already positioned. The real key for them - as it is with AMD - is whether they can persuade any major OEMs to use their hardware.
Surely that depends on what you've been using it for?

I think I am going back further…..to the Via Cyrix M2 and AMD k5 days on socket 7!