Via managed to get some buzz going on when the Nano processor was first introduced back in 2008. But even though early benchmarks seemed promising performance-wise, Intel had the upper hand when it came to power consumption, which is a very important factor to consider with mobile computing devices. The rest of the story you already know: today Atom chips power virtually every netbook sold in the U.S. and Europe while Nanos, for the most part, have been confined to smaller educational and developing markets.
Now Via is hoping to step up its game with their first dual-core Nano processors, which will be clocked at up to 2GHz, have 2MB L2 cache and will utilize a 1333MHz V4 bus. The company is pushing it as a low power chip, but with a TDP of 20W, the upcoming processor will likely end up in larger notebooks and low profile desktops rather than netbooks. The chips will be made using 40nm process technology from TSMC and should start shipping before the end of the year.
Via also plans to introduce quad-core versions of the Nano, although these will only be available by the end of 2011. No concrete details are available about these parts except that the design will also break in a new DirectX 11 chipset, dubbed VN11. The jump to multi-core architectures will no doubt be a big leap forward for the company, though we doubt it will help them turn the table on its larger rivals with AMD's Fusion and Intel's Sandy Bridge due in 2011.