Intel releases Atom N470

Intel took another step towards shutting out Nvidia’s Ion platform today, as it announced a further addition to its Atom family with integrated graphics. Picking up from the Atom N450, the 45nm N470 ups the clock speed to 1.83GHz.

As a part of Intel’s latest Pineview series of miniscule chips, the N470 not only features an integrated memory controller, but also features integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics. This means that the chip hardly requires anything in terms of a chipset.

In fact, all it needs is the NM10 Express “Tiger Point” chip; a 17mm x 17mm package that handles all the basic I/O requirements of the average minicomputer. This isn’t good news for anyone wanting to provide a third-party chipset for Intel’s new N470, as the need for a chipset has been practically eliminated, whether it has superior graphics capabilities or not.

The N470 uses a 667MHz front side bus, and can handle up to 2GB of 667MHz (PC2-5300) single-channel DDR2 memory. Like the previously released 1.66GHz Atom N450, the N470 only has one core, but it can handle two threads by reallocating its resources via Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology. The chip also supports all the usual extensions up to SSE3, and it can support 64-bit instructions too.

Intel isn’t proudly boasting about the computing abilities of the new chip, but it does say that the extra few clocks per second will “deliver additional responsiveness for online and basic computing tasks.” The company says it expects “major OEMs” to introduce systems based on the chip over the next few months.

One such OEM is Lenovo, which first showed off its IdeaPad S10-3t at CES earlier this year. The S10-3t will soon be available with an Atom N470, and Engadget says it will have a review up soon. However, the gadget site has already given us a taster, saying that “we can tell you right now the system didn't feel faster in use even with its 2GB of RAM, and on PCMark05 it scored in the same range as other N450 netbooks.”

After all, if you’re going to use a crippled processor architecture, then a few extra clocks isn’t going to turn it into a super computer, or even a half-reasonable PC in the case of a netbook.