It's easy to forget that Taiwanese outfit Via is the world's third maker of x86 CPUs, because the company only ever won a tiny slice of the market and hasn't released anything new for ages. But the company looks to be stirring. Back in July, rumours circulated of an update to the company's Isaiah CPUs after Via reportedly …
The problem with the VIA x86 CPU's, while they were low powered, the performance was low powered as well. Hopefully they finally address that as well.
Not any more. They fixed the performance around the time of going 64 bit
I have a VIA Eden X2 U4200 @ 1.0+ GHz (Dual Core 64 bit) courtesy of an HP thin client which has been modd-ed to install Debian on it.
It was originally bought for comleteness (so I can test some virtualization software on Intel, AMD and Via). It passed tests with reasonable results - more or less the performance expected from a dual core laptop 64 bit CPU at 1GHz. It has been relegated as a desktop for my daughter ever since and is doing that duty without any problem including running most of the kids flash games, iplayer, etc. It is always running a media center auto-logged in as an alternative user and that one is working fine too. I have not tried it for true HD, upscaling of DVD res to 1080p is without trouble.
It is not a spead daemon, but it is not slow by any means. In fact it is somewhere around the middle of the pack. It is faster than older E series APUs, faster than older Atom, not as fast as recent A series laptop/thin client APUs.
So I would not be so dismissive - with all the cloud going back to micro-server land (as exemplified by the recent NEC announcement) they will have their niche.
Re: Not any more. They fixed the performance around the time of going 64 bit
The previous 32-Bit ones were a dog though, I built a cheap one (brand new motherboard with soldiered in processor £7 from eBay :) ) for a friend who needed a cheap PC for his son's homework, it couldn't run Ubuntu but that was actually Unity killing the GPU, ran fine with Debian.
But out of curiosity I installed a 3 day trial of WIndows 7 on it to Benchmark against my Atom Media Centre and it was nearly 1/2 the performance.
On the plus side, his son is happy with it and I ended up building it for £27 in all (£20 for a case and used old HD & memory I had lying around) and he used an old TV for a monitor.
I thought they were dead. Ah happy days of buggy VIA Mobo chipsets and horrible S3 graphics.
And then there were four
And doesn't IBM or Cyrix still hold a license too?
Re: And then there were four
IBM has licenses and is cross licensed on all sorts of stuff, so it *probably* still has an x86 license.
VIA bought and gutted Cyrix ages ago. The current VIA procs are from their other acquisition, Centaur.
I have a VIA Mini-ITX box sitting on a shelf above my desk. They were a nice format for embedded applications where you wanted something like a PC, but in a small format that you can stick somewhere out of the way on a factory floor.
I think though that ARM has pretty much gobbled up that space except for cases where you must for some reason have MS Windows compatibility. The x-86 Mini-ITX boards start at several times the price of a Rasberry PI, and go up from there. Even just a bare Mini-ITX motherboard without CPU or RAM costs a lot more than a complete ARM solution with everything included. Accessories like cases tend to be priced proportionately. Even if you use something more pricey than a PI, the ARM boards are still usually a lot cheaper.
The phone/tablet market is going to be even more price sensitive. I can't see VIA making much money there. They might have better luck with low powered x-86 compatible servers for running MS Windows. In that market x-86 software compatibility is working in their favour rather than against them.
Let's hope they don't stitch it up with a GPU whose maker gets sniffy about drivers.
How is VIA even still around?
I swore never to buy a Via product again, when all my data ended up being corrupted by a bug in one of their chipsets (KT133 I believe...). They didn't even tell anyone until people started figuring it out for themselves, and once word got out, they never bothered fixing it.