TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Via Technologies Inc. has achieved a breakthrough in its effort to enter the microprocessor market with the adoption of its latest C3* MPU by Internet server maker Rauch Medien, which will use the chips to power its new line of Greenserv web servers.
Rauch Medien is one of the first processor customers that Via has announced since it entered the market about two years ago. The deal could help relieve concerns that Via's processors are unable to compete with those of Intel Corp. or Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
"We searched through all the latest and greatest processors [including processors from Intel, AMD, and Transmeta] and the VIA C3* came out on top," said Cory Rauch, technology director of Holbrook, N.Y.-based Rauch Medien. "The VIA C3* features an energy-efficient design that typically draws 10 watts of power while providing the same performance, megahertz to megahertz, as the competition."
Even though Via has focused on the low-price segment, the company has struggled to get a piece of the processor market. The company has said that it wants to own 5% to 10% of the global market by the end of this year, a target which some analysts see as too optimistic given the worldwide slowdown in the PC industry. Via's share last year was less than 3%.
The C3* processor is made using 0.13- and 0.15-micron process technologies, and boasts the world's smallest x86 processor die size of only 52 sq mm, according to Via.
GreenServ web servers running on the chips typically draw less than 30 watts of power-- less than one quarter of the power consumption of traditional servers-- and generate less heat with practically no difference in performance, said Taipei-based Via.
The typical cost of running an ordinary server in New York City or Silicon Valley -- where commercial customers commonly pay 17 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity -- is around $186, while the cost of running a full rack of 42 servers amounts to $7,824, according to estimates from Rauch Medien. GreenServ would reduce these amounts by up to 75%, leading to savings on energy bills of up to $5,946 per rack, said the company, which develops, makes, and markets Linux- and Open Source-based hardware and software.
Rauch Medien will begin shipping the GreenServ in July 2001 available with a 750MHz processor speed. An 800MHz version is due later in the third quarter, and a 1GHz version is slated for the end of the year. The line of servers and workstations can be configured with up to 60 Gbytes of hard drive storage, 1 gigabyte of RAM, and a low-power CD-ROM/Floppy drive combination.