Via Technologies is developing a twin-core x86 processor that is likely to hit the market by June 2005.
A launch in June would give Via a shot at being the first company to introduce an x86 processor with two cores. "We're pretty confident we'll have something by the end of Q2 next year," said Richard Brown, Via's associate vice-president of marketing. The twin-core processor is primarily designed to be used in high-density server clusters. Via has demonstrated that two processors can fit onto a small Mini-ITX motherboard and so manufacturers could offer a standard 1U server chassis containing two Mini-ITX motherboards running four twin-core processors, Brown said.
Via's twin-core processor contains two pieces of silicon - each with one Esther processor core on it - inside a single-chip package. By comparison, dual-core processors being developed by AMD and Intel put two cores on a single piece of silicon. The Esther cores are manufactured by IBM using a 90 nanometer process. The 32-bit chips consume 3.5W when running at a clock speed of 1GHz and will run at a clock speed of up to 2GHz.