Spruced up Atom systems appear

Intel's spruced up Atom processors are tipping up in systems from all the major OEMs this week.

The newest Intel Atom platform for netbooks consists of a new Intel Atom processor, the N450, and a new low-power Intel NM10 Express Chipset. For entry level desktop PCs, it consists of either the Intel Atom processor D410 or the dual core D510, also paired with the Intel NM10 Express Chipset.

he Intel Atom processor was designed from the ground up for small devices and low power, and remains Intel's smallest chip, built on the company's 45nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process.

The new Atomic chips feature integrated graphics built directly into the CPU, enabling what Intel calls improved performance and smaller, more energy-efficient designs in a new generation of netbooks entry-level desktop PCs. INtel says "Major OEMs" have committed to having systems on the new Intel Atom processors and a new companion chipset available within the next few weeks.

Intel claims it continues to see broad industry support for the Atom platform, as netbooks in particular have been hot sellers during a recessionary year due to their affordability, function and small size (7-10.2-inch screens).

Additionally, Intel is expecting to see broad channel adoption for Atom in a variety of small form factor entry-level desktop PCs at low prices, including ultra-small designs (less than 1-litre chassis), fanless designs, and low-cost all-in-one designs. , the market has expanded rapidly. Since introduction, Intel says it has shipped over 40 million Atom chips for netbooks to every major OEM around the world, since it announced the first Atoms in June 2008. In the same timeframe, netbooks ramped faster and sold more units than Apple's iPhone or the Nintendo Wii.

According to ABI Research, total Atom shipments for all segments are expected to continue to grow into the 100s of millions by 2011.

"The Intel Atom processor has fueled an entirely new category of computing over the last year and a half and we think the growth will continue for devices like netbooks and entry-level PCs built around basic computing and Internet usage models," said Mooly Eden, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group.

"We're excited to be delivering the next-generation Atom platform and working across the industry as we head into a second phase of growth, powering innovative new system designs with better performance, smaller footprints and better battery life."

Intel has over 80 design wins to-date for the new Atom platform from such leading OEMs as ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, MSI, Toshiba, Samsung and Fujitsu.

While the bulk of the systems will feature the new Windows 7 Starter or Home Basic operating system, some OEMs are offering Moblin Linux v2 as an alternative. Intel said it has been working closely with mobile operators and modem vendors to advance 3G capabilities in netbooks in established and emerging markets.

One of the significant features of the new platform is the integration of memory controller and graphics into the CPU, a first in the industry on x-86 chips. That means two chips (CPU+chipset) instead of the previous three (CPU, chipset, I/O controller hub), a lower TDP, and substantial reductions in cost, overall footprint and power. The netbook platform boasts a 20 per cent improvement in average power and a smaller package size over the previous Atom platform, Intel said.

The N450 is a single core Atom processor with 512k of L2 cache and a 7 watt total kit TDP including chipset. The D410 for entry-level desktop PCs is a single-core Atom processor with 512k of L2 cache and a 12-watt total kit TDP including chipset, and the D510 for entry-level desktop PCs is a dual core Atom processor with 1meg L2 cache and a 15-watt total kit TDP including chipset. The new chips all run at 1.66GHz.

Pricing for the new CPUs in 1,000 unit quantities are as follows: N450 for netbooks ($63), and for entry-level desktop the D410 ($43) and dual-core D510 ($64).