Computer on a chip coming soon

Via Technologies Inc. will introduce a chip later this year that combines most of a computer’s components in a single package, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday.

Called John, the upcoming chip combines Via’s C7 processor, chipset, and a graphics processor in a single package, said Wenchi Chen, Via’s president and chief executive officer. Chen held up a sample of John during his keynote presentation at the Via Technology Forum, which is being held alongside the Computex exhibition in Taipei.

John will be produced in volume later this year, he said.

Chen has long championed a push towards smaller computers that consume less power. While Intel Corp. executives touted the power-hungry Pentium 4 with its massive cooling systems, Chen instead pushed smaller PCs built around Via’s Mini-ITX motherboard and fanless processors. Now, the focus on smaller, more energy-efficient computers has become an industry-wide trend.

The introduction of John takes the notion that “small is beautiful” one step further, Chen said. “This is the direction where we’re going to push going forward,” Chen said.

To underscore his point, Chen pulled a small motherboard from his pocket. The board, which easily fit into his hand, included a John chip and the DRAM (dynamic RAM) required for a computer. The board is designed to be used in handheld computing applications, he said.

Computex runs through June 10.

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