VIA ramps C3 processor up to 866MHz

Small die size means cool running and low power consumption, making the chip ideal for low-end PCs

VIA Technologies on Tuesday launched its latest PC processor, the C3, running at 866MHz. The chip, which boasts the smallest die size of any x86 processor, is available in full production quantities immediately.

The Ezra C3 was the first processor to be manufactured using the 0.13-micron manufacturing process when it was launched earlier this year. Most processors makers are transitioning their chips from 0.18-micron to 0.13-micron processes, which reduces chip size, heat output and power consumption, and increases speed and efficiency.

VIA's processors sell for somewhat less than competitors such as AMD and Intel, with their Duron and Celeron low-cost lines, and the company is targeting emerging economies where low-cost PCs are more in demand. "The VIA C3 processor has steadily built up a reputation for unbeatable reliability and long-term value," said Richard Brown, VIA's director of marketing, in a statement. "With the introduction of the new 866MHz version, this trend is sure to continue."

VIA first introduced the 0.13-micron process with its mobile C3 chip, launched over the summer. The chip is also manufactured using a 0.15-micron process. VIA says the chip's low power consumption and heat output make it well-suited for high-density servers, mobile computers and low-end PCs.

However, VIA has had little success so far in getting PC vendors to adopt the C3.

The chip comes with 128KB of Level 1 memory cache and 64KB of Level 2 cache, supports a 100/133MHz front-side bus and also has built-in MMX and 3DNow multimedia instructions. Pricing was not announced.

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