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Thread: The Via Isaiah

  1. #1
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    Default The Via Isaiah

    The new 64-bit cpu Isaiah is finally coming out. With TDP of 25W, claiming 2-4 times the performance compared to Esther on same frequencies, automatic overclocking, and many other exciting features, I would like to see a Phoronix review of it.

    How does it sound?

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    While it's not a barn burner, it seems to be a compelling mobile and embedded systems part. And, just like with all their previous iterations of their CPU lineup, it's a wait and see situation. The C7's an improvement over the C3, but not as much as they made it out to be. Since the bulk of the C7 parts are saddled with their seriously suboptimal IGP lineup, the devices have had very poor showings in the reviews- but the things DO perform better than the reviews would indicate, so long as you're not trying to do silly things with them...

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    While the Via CPU's and boards have always been interesting, I still have a hard time justifying spending that much on a Via setup when I can get something like a AMD EE series CPU and motherboard with a more powerful IGP for almost half of what one of the miniboards cost from via. To top it off the AMD setup pulverizes the Isaiah in performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    While the Via CPU's and boards have always been interesting, I still have a hard time justifying spending that much on a Via setup when I can get something like a AMD EE series CPU and motherboard with a more powerful IGP for almost half of what one of the miniboards cost from via. To top it off the AMD setup pulverizes the Isaiah in performance.
    Performance isn't everything. How much juice does the AMD config burn compared to an Isiah? Quite a bit more.

    Watts computes to an increase in supply requirements.
    Watts computes to HEAT that you have to rid yourself of in a design.

    In a gaming machine, the AMD config probably is a better deal. But we're not talking gaming machines here, though that's what you're doing.

    In a Kiosk, basic business PC, or industrial computer, that AMD config can be a serious design problem.

    Moreover- you're looking at the Epia configurations. An Ezra C7 board WITH a PCI-E slot happens to run $69 over at ClubIT and a few other places. If you're talking a Mini-ITX or EBX configuration with the AMD or Intel configurations, you're talking actually spending MORE than the Via EPIAs run, just so you know...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    In a gaming machine, the AMD config probably is a better deal. But we're not talking gaming machines here, though that's what you're doing.
    Actually I wasn't comparing it for gaming but for applications such as HTPC's and NAS servers. Also the fact that the Via chip is 64-bit really is more of a marketing thing, anything that could use the extra benefits of 64-bit would more then likely require a system with more capabilty.

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    Via's chips make very good HTPC's. Via was the first to support mpeg4 hw decoding on linux.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Actually I wasn't comparing it for gaming but for applications such as HTPC's and NAS servers. Also the fact that the Via chip is 64-bit really is more of a marketing thing, anything that could use the extra benefits of 64-bit would more then likely require a system with more capabilty.
    Considering that a NAS server doesn't NEED compute horsepower, you're kind of overkilling things with the AMD configuration. TDP is a lot higher for the AMD answer and if you're spending $70 for the motherboard and another $30-40 for the RAM... In the end, the machine will do decently well for itself. The only reason I switched out my EPIA for a P4 config was SATA support I needed to expand cpacity with and the RAM needed to expand what I was trying to do with it- it ended up being cheaper to press an old P4 2.8 GHz into service. I can assure you that the heat and power consumption isn't anywhere near the same as the EPIA was- and while I got a speed boost from the CPU, it's overshadowed by my needing to cool the blasted thing and it's power consumption.

    As for HTPC's, depends on what you're trying to accomplish with one. If you're trying to do a ATSC or an NTSC MPEG2 capture system, the things work rather well, actually. You just can't use non-hardware cards for NTSC capture and expect to compress with the CPU- it's not got enough head room. If you're trying to do transcode of DVD's, gameplay, etc. with one, yeah, it's not going to do as well.

    All in all, the Isiah isn't about 64-bit support. It's about a new arch that will do WELL in 32-bit mode. And it seems to do that well enough to be considered for more applications than the VIA C7 would be applied to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    Considering that a NAS server doesn't NEED compute horsepower.
    When dealing with softraid setups and Gbit loads that extra horsepower certainly does play a factor especially when multiple nodes are putting demand on the system (speaking from experience myself after attempting to use a budget C7 system as one). Two HTPC's accessing HD content was next to impossible to keep uninterupted streams with the setup and adding the Gbit NIC to it resulted in very high CPU loads. Since then I have replaced the unit with Asus M2A VM. I paired that with a AMD 4200 EE and underclocked the processor slapped a passive heatsink on it. The result was a night and day difference. No more hiccups streaming HD content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    When dealing with softraid setups and Gbit loads that extra horsepower certainly does play a factor especially when multiple nodes are putting demand on the system (speaking from experience myself after attempting to use a budget C7 system as one). Two HTPC's accessing HD content was next to impossible to keep uninterupted streams with the setup and adding the Gbit NIC to it resulted in very high CPU loads. Since then I have replaced the unit with Asus M2A VM. I paired that with a AMD 4200 EE and underclocked the processor slapped a passive heatsink on it. The result was a night and day difference. No more hiccups streaming HD content.
    Your FIRST problem was Softraid.

    You really and honestly need to use dedicated hardware raid (which is designed for the task) if you're going to do RAID in the first place.

    Also worth noting- you don't need Gigabit bandwidth for HD content unless you're streaming more than 3 or so streams. I manage just fine with 100 Mbit on my switch. You should use the bandwidth they use for ATSC as a good litmus test for what's honestly needed and if you're having problems, perhaps it's your streaming server or other hardware introducing latencies, including making an unsuitable processor do softraid.

    It's also worth noting that you're not doing a normal thing that most people doing NAS setups end up doing...
    Just because YOU find it unsuitable doesn't make it so for all other applications. If that were the case...heh...you'd find a hell of a lot of things deemed that way by me and you just couldn't use 'em. >:-)
    Last edited by Svartalf; 03-22-2008 at 08:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Svartalf View Post
    Your FIRST problem was Softraid.

    You really and honestly need to use dedicated hardware raid (which is designed for the task) if you're going to do RAID in the first place.
    Balderdash, this isn't a corporate lan we are talking about. This is simply a simple home NAS setup. Softraid has many uses that are well within the capabilities of softraid. Spending $500 - $1000 for a hardware raid card for a home NAS solution is overkill in the extreme. That's why NAS distros add the capability of setting them up (which is also one of the highest demanded features).

    Also worth noting- you don't need Gigabit bandwidth for HD content unless you're streaming more than 3 or so streams. I manage just fine with 100 Mbit on my switch. You should use the bandwidth they use for ATSC as a good litmus test for what's honestly needed and if you're having problems, perhaps it's your streaming server or other hardware introducing latencies, including making an unsuitable processor do softraid.
    This is not a streaming server. It's simply a NAS solution. The HTPC's simply have the drives mounted in NFS. With 3 HTPC's in the house and also serving as a backup / storage solution with other systems in the house it was very easy to make the C7 hiccup.

    ATSC is also on the low end of the bitrate scale. With a maximum bitrate of ~20 mbit/s vs peaks of 40 mbit/s of a bluray rip without transcoding the rip to a lower bit rate.

    As far as other hardware inducing the latencies that too cannot be as when switched over to X2 system latencies disappeared thus eliminating anything but the aforementioned C7 setup.

    It's also worth noting that you're not doing a normal thing that most people doing NAS setups end up doing...
    Just because YOU find it unsuitable doesn't make it so for all other applications. If that were the case...heh...you'd find a hell of a lot of things deemed that way by me and you just couldn't use 'em. >:-)
    It's also worth noting that I never once said that it did not have it's applications, for example that C7 system made for an excellent wireless router / firewall / torrent client / personal webserver with some additional hardware, it wasn't the most price practical solution but never the less I had it so I put it to use. Had I set out with those purposes in mind though I would have just picked up a cheaper linux based router which has a lower power consumption and is cheaper to purchase.

    I was speaking from personal experience for my applications. What I am doing is not all that unusual nowdays either and there is enough demand for such applications as mine that even MS saw fit to bring out their solution for it with Windows Home Server.

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