CPU Integrated Crypto Engine - VIA PadLock ACE
Apparently the VIA C3 Nehemiah has an integrated "PadLock Advanced Crypto Engine". A group has put together benchmark numbers comparing the PadLock AES to software AES.
You ask, "OK, cool... How is this useful to me?"
Well, it could be very useful if you want to build an "appliance" that uses OpenSSL. Software such as IPCop, M0n0wall, Endian Firewall, etc... are often used to make small firewall appliances . There seems to be a growing trend for building these on mini-itx based machines. (Which often have VIA C3 CPUs) These are desirable, as they take up less space, produce less noise, create less heat, and can often be made solid-state.
The alternative is to purchase some fairly specialized devices from Soekris. Soekris actually has specific encryption accelerator cards in a mini-PC form factor. The wonderful thing about these devices, is that they are designed to run Linux on them!
Building your own "Solid-State" device is a current interest of mine, so it is likely I'll write about them again.