Via Technologies announced a new quad-core x86 processor on Thursday, saying it is "the lowest power quad core processor on the market today".

The company's QuadCore processor, targeted at mainstream laptops and desktops, operates at 1.2GHz and draws around 27.5 watts of power, the company said.

The quad-core processor is designed to run multimedia, productivity and Internet applications, the company said. The chip will start shipping in the third quarter of this year. Via did not announce computer makers that would offer the chip in PCs.

Adoption by PC makers for the quad-core chip could see an issue for Via, wrote Anand Lal Shimpi on technology enthusiast website Anandtech. The QuadCore could start life with whitebox and motherboard designs, as Via does not have the market pull of Intel or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which are the more dominant chip vendors.

Via had a 0.2 percent share of the world's PC processor market in the first quarter this year, behind Intel, which held an 80.8 percent share, and AMD, which held an 18.9 percent share.

The bulk of today's mainstream laptops use dual-core processors. Intel and AMD offer quad-core processors for gaming laptops, which are power hungry and generally offer poor battery life. For example, Intel's Core i7 quad-core laptop processors draw around 45 watts of power or more.

Via's QuadCore processors combine two chips in the same package, with each chip containing two Isaiah cores. Via also uses Isaiah cores in its Nano netbook chips.

The QuadCore includes 4MB of L2 cache, has hardware security and virtualisation features, and is made using the 40-nanometre manufacturing process.