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Future of VIA processors

Future of VIA processors

At the Microprocessor Forum in San Josen, California, the Taiwanese chip manufacturer VIA Technologies (VIA) announced initial plans for the future of the company. In addition to detailed improvements to the current core of the C3 processor, we also expect some fundamental architecture changes in the near future.

The fastest are currently based Versions of the C3 processor on the current Ezra core (C5C), which is already manufactured in 0.13 µm. The previous versions, the Samuel 2 (C5B) and Samuel (C5A) had to be content with more coarse manufacturing technologies. Since it was possible to further reduce the heat dissipation of the C3 by using the improved manufacturing process, the Ezra core will be accelerated from the current 866MHz to 1GHz. This step will be taken in early 2002. In the middle of next year, a new stepping of the Ezra core will appear, which will henceforth do its job in the C3 under the name Erza-T (C5M and a short time later C5N). The Erza-T will be specially optimized for use in mainboards with Intel Pentium III Tualatin support. In this way and through a further modified production with copper conductor tracks, the C3 with Ezra-T Core will reach a full 1.2GHz. VIA will then carry out profound optimizations on the core. In addition to a now 16 instead of 12 stage pipeline, a finer manufacturing technology of an MMX and two SSE units and a now 256kb L2 cache, the C3 processor with the C5X core will achieve a clock frequency of up to 1.5GHz. A particular increase in performance will also be seen in that the Arithmetic Logical Unit (ALU) and Floating Point Unit (FPU) are now operated with full, instead of half the processor clock rate.

End of 2003 or the beginning In 2004 the C5X core, on which most of the VIA processors will be based from the third quarter of 2002 onwardswill be replaced by a new core with a completely new architecture. This should be based on the same architecture as Intel's Pentium 4 and is currently still called CZA. VIA assumes that this processor will be manufactured in 0.10 µm. The CZA will probably start with a clock frequency of around 2GHz and should find its place in Pentium 4 mainboards with socket 478.