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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

VIA responds

Like I said, I contacted VIA asking for an explanation And I going to post here the entire test of two emails I received:

I sent this email to JKK and Steve at UMPC portal and I saw you are looking for a response also on your article :)
Highlights... Jkk is using at 901 in his video, we compared a 1000H, we did ours running both on battery in auto-mode... (read the full email for full comparison details :)
If you have other questions let me know.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Timothy J. Brown
Date: Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 4:21 PM
Subject: VIA responds...
To: jkkmobile@

Hi Jkk and Steve,
I saw the numerous comments on your sites... and other sites... about the recent video we released comparing VIA Nano and Intel Atom HD video performance.
I'm the guy in the video and I thought maybe I could send you a response as opposed to try and go around commenting everywhere and maybe address some of the questions people may have had.
First off I'd like to say... Wow! We had no idea how popular or inciting this video was going to be.... and I'd like to say we certainly weren't trying to tell people how to watch video, or on what type of device to watch video on, or in what resolution.  Also its great to see people so passionate about their mini-notes and the Asus EeePC! The relatively new mini-note category is important to VIA so we're really surprised and very impressed by the passionate interest.
In fact recently we had just done a round of independent 3rd party benchmarking tests which were really positive for the VIA Nano and we wanted to find a way for people who don't read benchmarks or visit those kinds of site a way to visually see the performance difference between our CPU and our competitors CPU. Its very difficult to isolate CPU performance on products as you know although some independent 3rd party benchmark reviews can be found here:
Intel Atom vs.VIA Nano -HardOCP
Low-end grudge match: Nano vs. Atom -ars technica
So video performance is a "visual" way to show off our performance. We chose a 1080p HD video to really stress the compared CPUs and we chose a VIA OpenBook prototype to plop a VIA Nano 1.3HGz processor into because its the closest thing we have to a comparable product at the moment that we are allowed to talk about (although that will change soon!). The prototype we used nicely demoed our pin for pin upgrade compatibility for our processors but is in no way was it optimized to run the VIA Nano processor the way our customers products will be when they are launched. So our customers VIA Nano based products in fact should have even better performance.
Presently of course we have no way to do an exact apples for apples comparison (and to satisfy everyone I don't think there ever will be since so many other platform factors come into play) but we thought we'd take another mini-note using our competitors highest CPU sku (Intel Atom 1.6GHz) and play them side by side so people could see the difference for themselves. In this case, because we had one on hand, we used the Asus EeePC 1000H. Both machines in the test ran with 1GHz of ram, and both use 2.5" SATA hard drives.
We purposely chose one of our lower sku VIA Nano 1.3GHz processor's to compare against Intel's highest sku to not only show its great performance but to help simplify people's questions about power consumption. Power consumption is something experts seldom agree on and your average consumer has very little idea about in terms of what it means to them in terms of overall power consumption or battery life, or their power bill.  I would be very willing to discuss in an interview with you this subject if you thought people would be interested in how VIA approaches these issues. We're very convinced that our Nano power consumption is more than competitive to the Atom and we'd love to go into the lengthy discussion about how we see that.
I saw some 901 test result videos added to your sites which use SSD drive and I believe also a Celeron CPU, it looks like the results may have been different. For this reason we tried to show in the graphics in the video and the title of our video that we were comparing CPUs. In fact this whole video controversy highlights the platform differences between VIA and Intel... on another day I would also love to do an interview with you regarding that very subject!
We chose a 1080p HD video as I mentioned to stress the CPUs, but in fact depending on other factors such a bit rate for example, performance results can widely vary for HD videos. So the best we could do is have both machines run the same video. Yes 720p videos can be played by different CPUs, its just not the video we chose for our comparison, which people can download and run for themselves here:
I think a lot of the comments you can see people talking about how to properly tune your 1000H so it can play HD video. Our thinking process was... lets do this while running on batteries. The beauty of these mini-note product category is their mobility and most of us internally at VIA were thinking.. If I'm in a place where I could be plugged in (maybe at home) I'll probably watch 1080p HD video on a different device... like my HD TV. So to be fair in as much of a like for like comparison we ran both devices on batteries in "auto mode" that way the processors have the option to scale up their performance to meet the task if they need to. I don't know why but the Atom didn't when we ran our video.
As to the video style... the music, the use of quotes from Intel. Well we did intend for the video to be a little dramatic and set a " product for product challenge" type of tone and we did want to show our philosophy about our product. For VIA the VIA Nano is a very important product, our confidence in our product and marketing approach certainly needs to reflect that. Sadly we don't have a 300 million dollar marketing budget or control over our customer/partners to drive our product into the hearts and minds of consumers. So this is one of the approaches we are taking.
I don't know Paul Otellini personally so I can only get Intel's philosophy on their products from the public face they put on it. So to show our different corporate philosophies to both companies products I took those Intel quotes used in our video from a July 15th CNET article: "Intel CEO on Atom chip shortage, flash problems" -
Intel predicts its shortages will end around the same time VIA Nano based products hit the market so I think its relevant for VIA to show this kind of performance video now so consumers can make better educated when products are readily available. I realize some Atom based products are available now of course.
...In the end what really matters is the consumer experience on devices and we're getting really close to a point where people will be able experience VIA Nano based devices of all sorts and see for themselves. In the meantime I'm open for dialogue and speaking to the community, as well as educating about our products.
Thanks for the opportunity to respond.
Tim Brown
International Marketing Manager
VIA Technologies, Inc.