Via Technologies' upcoming Isaiah processor – which will compete against Intel's Atom chips - will be called Nano when these chips hit the market in the coming weeks, the company has revealed.

The Nano processors offer a significant performance boost over Via's existing C7 line of processors, and are being lined up to take on the Diamondville version of Intel's Atom processors.

Dual-core Via Nano coming next year

"The Nano is definitely faster," said Glenn Henry, president of Centaur Technology, the Via subsidiary that designed the processor. "I said that originally and I'm very sure of that now."

The Nano processors are now shipping to hardware makers in five versions, with clock speeds ranging from 1GHz up to 1.8GHz, said Richard Brown, Via's vice president of marketing. The first laptops based on the chips could hit the market during the third quarter.

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The five Nano processors are split into two types, the Nano L series and the Nano U series. Pricing for the chips was not disclosed.

The L, or Low Voltage, series comprises two chips, the 1.6GHz L2100 and 1.8Ghz L2200. The chips have a maximum TDP (thermal design power) of 25.5W and 17W, respectively. This line will eventually be expanded with the addition of a 2GHz chip, which Via executives have discussed previously, but the company hasn't set a date for its release.

The U series, which stands for Ultra-Low Voltage, comprises three chips: the 1GHz U2300, the 1.2GHz U2400, and 1.3GHz U2500. These chips have a TDP of 8W, 6.8W and 5W, respectively. That represents a slight increase over previous TDP estimates. For example, the 1GHz chip was initially expected to have a TDP of 3.5W, like the current 1GHz C7-M processor.

"Part of the reason for that is better manufacturing yields," Brown said, noting that any TDP under 7 watts can still be used without a cooling fan. "We're well within that."

When idling, all of the Nano processors draw 100 milliwatts except for the L200, which consumes 500 milliwatts.

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