VIA Technologies may command only a tiny portion of CPU the market, but by focusing on power consumption rather than top performance they have managed to carve a niche out for themselves in the ultra-small form factor and low power markets. Now we are about to see the fruits of its Centaur acquisition with the upcoming Isaiah processors, which are expected to provide double the performance of the current VIA C7 chips but consume the same amount of power. They will come with two cores and run at 2GHz.

VIA says the first generation of Isaiah processors will be pin-compatible with the VIA C7 processor family and capable of processing both x86 and 64-bit software. The chips are billed as high-performing, power-efficient processors that are ideal for ultraportable and handheld computers.

But VIA won't be left alone without any competition. Intel's Silverthorne UMPC processor is due for release in the "first half of 2008," though Centaur Technology's president Glenn Henry seems confident their chips will outperform Silverthorne. While this may be a bold claim given the limited Silverthorne information that's been made available so far, HardOCP was at the launch event and was impressed with the processor's ability to run Crysis at a 1.8GHz clock speed.