Should Zonbu ditch the VIA processor/graphics for Intel?

Intel LogoThe more I dig in to the Zonbu the more I like it. However, the more I use it, the more I run in to the frustrating wall of the relatively weak performance of the Via processor and the lack of quality drivers and acceleration for the Via CX700 graphics chip under Linux.

Don’t get me wrong, for most day-to-day stuff, it performs acceptably well, but (for example) if you start visiting any PC gaming sites that make heavy user of flash and embedded video, expect stuttering and 100% CPU load.

I’m starting to wonder if Zonbu may not have the right idea about the over-all end-user experience, but that the Via based hardware isn’t the right way to deliver that experience…

I’m only theorizing, but the Intel ULV processors, while not as power efficient as the Via are likely going to deliver more processing firepower, even at a lower GHz rating. It’s just a hunch and I’m happy to be corrected on this, but I have to concede that my AMD Duron 1.1 GHz machine seemed snappier than the 1.2GHz VIA. More importantly, the Intel graphics chipsets are widely and thoroughly supported under Linux and the Via CX700 chipet enjoys only modest support right now.

If the goal is to get an easy to use, stable, highly efficient and multi-talented PC replacement in to the hands of as many people as possible, then perhaps the second generation of hardware from Zonbu should be based on something other than the Via product offerings. Both AMD and Intel have interesting options in this space, if some allowance is made for higher (although still impressively modest) power consumption.

Zonbu has been hinting that a second generation of hardware may be waiting in the wings, based on the survey questions they recently sent out.  It will be interesting to see where that goes, or if, as I theorized a few months ago, the Zonbu OS may be expanded to run on more mainstream PC hardware.

-Mr. Zonbu

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5 Responses to Should Zonbu ditch the VIA processor/graphics for Intel?

  1. […] story here This entry was posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2007 at 8:21 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. […]

  2. Pelle says:

    Seems resonable to choose a manufacturer with good and open linux drivers which is true for Intel and about to be true for AMD. Although it’s sad that Via doesn’t support linux as well, being in their current position they would have more to win than Intel and AMD got I think. Perhaps Via could solve this by opening up their own drivers as well – if their comptetitors has opened it – what could Via lose by opening up their own?

  3. aussiebear says:

    Just to let you know, the VIA CPUs aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

    A 1Ghz VIA C3 is like a PIII 500Mhz in integer performance and a PII 333Mhz in floating point performance. (generally C3 processor is 50% integer and 33% floating compared to a PIII speed)

    The newer C7 gives you approx 10% overall improvement over the C3.

    What’s that mean? It means, of couse your AMD Duron 1.1Ghz is snappier!

    When using a C3 or C7 based system, they may feel faster in some cases compared to PIII solution. This is mainly because of newer chipset generation.

    It’ll take at least a C7 2Ghz to even come near an Intel or AMD equivalent solution. (in integer performance.)

    Honestly, it Zonbu would be better off with a fanless Intel or AMD based solution. For now, I would lean to Intel-based for minimal fuss in Linux.

  4. The choice between Via and Intel is a very complex technical and business choice. Though we definitely hit a few drawbacks, we like very much Via. They have done a tremendous job to bring a low power and affordable chip set to the market. And they have been very supportive on many fronts for the past few months. For confidential reasons, I will not enter into too many details, but they definitely deserve some credits in the Zonbu story.

  5. […] Zonbu the environmentally friendly computer just released a Laptop version of their machine. […]

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