Computer/Embedded Technology


New VIA processors for embedded applications

19 September 2007 Computer/Embedded Technology

The embedded and industrial PC markets are always looking for smaller, faster, cheaper and cooler CPUs to power their single board computers (SBCs). Unlike the desktop or server PC market, industrial PCs are often used in applications where fanless CPUs are required. In the past this normally resulted in a big reduction in performance.

VIA claims to be addressing this with its new range of small sized CPUs. VIA has the C7 range running at 2 to 1 GHz (20 to 9 W), the Eden range running at 1,2 to 0,4 GHz (7 to 2,5 W) and the ULV Eden range running at 1,5 to 0,5 GHz (7,5 to 1 W). This results in significant heat reduction when compared to the 80 to 120 W needed by the P4 and faster class CPUs typically used in desktop PCs. Not all of the VIA CPUs are fanless, but medium to slower Eden and ULV Eden processors are being used in fanless applications.

Another advantage of the VIA solution is that it combines the North and South bridge companion chips into a single chip, which also results in less heat generation and uses less real estate. Here the company offers three options: the CX700, CX700M and CX700M2, offering varying levels of graphics capabilities. All the options give fast video handling capabilities, allowing realtime video to be displayed. The CX700M2 supports MPEG2, MPEG4, WMV9, HDTV and has Macrovision support. Fast video support is often not available on low speed industrial PCs and this feature opens up possibilities for embedded PCs.



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