Via Nano: The Intel Atom Competitor for Mini-Notebooks?

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Intel's Atom processor has been nothing but impressive for "netbook" or mini-notebook platforms. On all the systems we have tested with the 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU - the Acer Aspire One, MSI Wind, and new Eee PCs - battery life has far exceeded the other CPU architectures out there and performance has been much smoother. Just take a look at our experience of running Vista on the Eee PC 1000H.

But before Atom made a splash in June, VIA's C7M chip, the choice of HP for its Mini-Note, showed real competition in the mini-notebook CPU space. Since Atom's June release, VIA's C7M can't really compete.

Enter VIA's Nano (formerly code-named Isaiah) architecture. In the past, VIA has positioned its power-efficient Nano or Isaiah processor to be a more mainstream computing CPU aimed at desktops but the tone seems to be changing. In an FAQ that our friend Sascha at Eee PC News.de got a hold of, VIA clearly states that it intends to bring its Nano chip to mini-notebooks.

Which type of products is the VIA Nano processor aimed at?
Look for the VIA Nano processor to first appear in thin ā€˜nā€™ light notebooks, Mini-notes requiring more mainstream computing performance, and energy efficient desktop PCs optimized for internet use and video playback.

The materials go on further to compare the Nano chip to Intel's Atom.

Though VIA doesn't specify which series of Nano processors will be aimed at netbooks, the L-series seems to be for mainstream desktop and notebook configurations while the U-series seems to be intended for smaller form factors like ultra mobile devices and mini-notes. The U2400 chip seems ideal for mini-notebooks according to the materials we have paged through.

So will VIA release its Open Book (aka Cloudbook Max) with its new Nano chips? Or even better yet, the HP Mini-Note? (We did see a mini-notebook at Computex running the Nano chipset). Everything we have heard seems to prove that the OpenBook will still sport the C7M chip, but we are here crossing our fingers that it sports the "Atom Killer." VIA will release the first Nano devices in Q3.

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