The company which pioneered Mini-ITX, Via Technologies, is laying ground for a late 2011 launch of a quad-core Nano CPU design capable of competing with Intel's Atom.
According to Digitimes, during the company's financials call, VIA snuck in some details on futures launches that will include both pimped-out dual-core Nanos and a brand-new quad-core Nano CPU design. The dual-core Nanos will receive a speed bump and a new Bus, the V4, that will zoom along at 1333MHz (333MHz) - vs. the current 800MHz (200MHz) - and count on 2MB of L2 cache to speed up operations (up from 1MB for the 3000 series).
TDP will be around 20W, which will fit the Nanos into notebooks, light desktops and low-power server duties fine. These processors will be fabbed at TSMC and will be built on a 40nm process.
Details on the quad-core design are vague at best, and sound somewhat like a cry for attention. No concrete facts except that the design will also break in a new DirectX 11 chipset appropriately named VN11. VIA expects it to reach the market by late 2011. Guessing by the timetable, the company could manage itself on a 28nm process if TSMC has its roadmap on track and orders are stacking up the company's sales department.
The Nano originally set off to be a low-power processor with some added FPU oomph (something the ancestral C7 and C3 processors were really lacking in) and a crypto hardware engine. The former press-wowing CPU has lost its edge over time due to its tardiness and relatively short production runs that were made to fulfil customer orders more than allow eager enthusiasts to grab them at retail.
One prime example of this is the Dell's XS11-VX8 Fortuna server. While the Nano has come short in terms of system integrators, it has proved quite successful in the low-power server segment.
Summing up, VIA Technologies still has blood coursing through its veins, and maybe for once (again), it will turn the table on the heavy hitters like AMD and Intel... especially considering they pioneered the market they are now trying to break into.