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Low-cost PCs are Intel's new goldmine; Atom is 85x more expensive than gold

Intel seems to have struck gold with the new emergent low cost PC segment, pioneered by Asus EEE PC launched last year and according to some sources, the semiconductor giant might earn more from the new Atom family than from its popular Core range.

Tomshardware (opens in new tab) reckons that Intel could make nearly 1600 percent profit on the sale of its most expensive Atom Z540 which costs as little as £4 to manufacture.

Each 300mm wafer can produce up to 2500 CPUs and at a minimum selling price of £10 (the cost of the Z500), puts the price of each wafer (weighing 127.62g, see this Powerpoint presentation) at £25,000, that's thirteen times the price of Gold (opens in new tab) at the time of writing

The Z540 will cost nearly 85x more than gold at comparable weight; Intel is able to achieve such profit margins by cramming more transistors than ever per unit area and by minimising the complexity of the process - which in turn increases yield rates.

The Atom family will benefit from the latest Intel technology and from massive economies of scale as Taiwanese manufacturers have already pinned great hopes on the newly found ultra cheap PC segments.

Acer and Asustek have already announced that they will sell more than 10 million such PCs in 2008.

(Ed : Cyrix MediaGX launched the real low cost PC revolution back in 1997, this caused Intel to retaliate with the launch of the Intel Celeron range).

You can read our review of the EEE here

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.