A new low-power chip based on IBM's Power architecture will be announced by start-up company PA Semi later today.

The PWRficient family of processors are the first products form PA Semi, which was founded two years ago bya number of chip designers including lead architect of the Alpha and StrongARM processors, Dan Dobberpuhl.

The first chip in the family, the PA6T-1682M, is a dual-core processor that dissipates between five and 13 watts of power in typical usage while running at 2GHz. It contains two cores, two DDR2 memory controllers, 2MB of Level 2 cache, and support for several different I/O standards all included on the chip.

PWRficient chips are best suited for embedded networking and telecommunications devices, high-performance computing and consumer electronics devices, according to the company. It has yet to announce any customers.

The company plans to push the PWRficient design to 2.5GHz and up to eight cores. The dual-core PA6T-1682M is expected to become available in sample quantities in the third quarter of next year. A quad-core PWRficient processor is scheduled for late 2007 and an eight-core chip is being worked on for 2008.

The company has 150 employees, including Jim Keller, a co-designer of AMD's Opteron chip, and Pete Bannon, who worked on Intel's forthcoming Tukwila Itanium 2 processor.