Intel Packs GPU & CPU On Pine Trail Atom Chip

Intel has unveiled a new chip, codenamed Pine Trail, that brings together the Atom processor and the chipset in one single physical unit in a bid, by the world's biggest semiconductor manufacturer to cut costs while improving power efficiency and performance.

The new product, called the N450 shares the same specifications as the existing N280 model with a 1.66Ghz processor speed, 512KB L2 cache and a 667MHz FSB. However, it manages to integrate a 400Mhz graphics module together with an integrated memory controller.

Although Intel is still using a 45nm manufacturing process, compared to the cutting edge 32nm, it still claims that it has managed to decrease the power draw by a not-so-negligible 20 percent.

In a statement, Intel said that "Because of the integration, the total footprint for the netbook platform has decreased by approximately 60%. For entry-level desktop PCs, it's a nearly 70% reduction in footprint and about 50% lower TDP than the previous generation."

Alongside the N450, two other models, the D410 and the D510, will be targeting the desktop market as Intel signalled a changed strategy that saw it can the name "nettop" from its press release.

The processors should be available for launch on the 4th of January 2010, still have the 2GB limit with DDR2 currently the only option; furthermore, the chips will almost certainly require new motherboard designs together with Intel's brand new NM10 Express chipset.

Our Comments

Make no mistake, Intel is targeting ARM and its slew of design wins that are appear on the market as early as next year. Intel will be looking to cut power consumption as much as possible even if that means sacrificing a lot of performance. 2010 could be a very, very exciting year as we watch Intel having to decide which part of the market it controls should be sacrificed.

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