Intel may have the nettop and netbook markets cornered with its Atom processor, but that could quickly change if PC manufacturers become enamored with VIA's Nano processor, which has been shown to hold its own in benchmarking next to the much more popular Atom. Giving PC makers a nudge, VIA plans to launch its next-generation Nano 3000-series CPU in the third quarter of 2009, with engineering samples being made available in Q1 2009, according to DigiTimes. The new chip will be produced under Fujitsu's 65nm manufacturing process and will be the first Nano processor to support SSE4 instructions.
Also on tap is a dual-core Nano. A previous roadmap showed the two-cored chip going into production in June 2010, which could give Intel a significant headstart should the company decide to port its existing dual-core Atom 330 CPU over to netbooks instead of just nettops. But now it appears VIA will have engineering samples available in the second half of 2009, with mass production to begin by the end of 2009 or very early 2010.
It has not yet been decided whether the dual-core Nano will use Fujitsu's 45nm manufacturing process or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) 40nm process. But no matter which direction VIA takes its dual-core Nano part, the company could put itself in a favorable position if it doesn't run into any delays and makes its two-core chip available for use in netbooks, which have become increasingly powerful as of late.