Taiwanese chip maker Via Technologies has landed a deal with Hewlett-Packard (HP), the world's largest PC maker, which is to start selling a fully-fledged desktop PC based on a low-power Via microprocessor. It is the first time that HP has used Via processors in desktop PCs.

Announced today, the Compaq dx2020 is based on Via's 1.5GHz C-7D processor, which consumes only 20 watts of power or less. Designed for corporate users rather than consumers, the new PC is a significant win for Via and an important recognition of its focus on the production of energy-efficient processors.

The Compaq system also includes a Via CN700 chipset, either 512MB or 1GB of DDR2 memory, and a 60GB or 120GB hard disk. The PCs are sold with Microsoft's Windows XP operating system instead of the newer Windows Vista .

The Compaq dx2020 system is the first desktop PC from a larger computer vendor that's based on a Via processor. Last year, Samsung decided to use a mobile Via processor in its Q1b ultramobile PC instead of a more pricier Intel chip.

Despite these deals however, Via-based systems accounted for just 0.12 per cent of the Chinese PC market last year, according to research firm IDC .

"It's pretty minimal," said Bryan Ma, director of personal systems research at IDC Asia-Pacific. "There's nowhere to go but up."

Pricing for the Compaq dx2020 system, which will only be sold in China, has yet to be confirmed.