Intel Corp. on Monday formally unveiled the components of its new Atom platform. Thanks to the code-named Pine-Trail set of chips, next-generation netbooks will not only obtain higher performance, but will also gain high-definition video playback and faster graphics processor. But the most important thing about the new Atom processor is that they consume lower amount of energy and enable smaller and more cost-effective PCs.
One of the most significant features of the new platform is the integration of memory controller and graphics core into central processing unit, a first in the industry on x86 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 features a 20% improvement in average power and a smaller package size over the previous Atom platform. This translates into smaller and more compact system designs and longer battery life. Because of the integration, the total footprint for the netbook platform has decreased by approximately 60%, according to Intel. For entry level desktop PCs, it is a nearly 70% reduction in footprint and about 50% lower TDP than the previous generation, the chipmaker said.
The newest Intel Atom platform for netbooks consists of a new Intel Atom “Pineview” processor N450, and a new low-power Intel NM10 core-logic. 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 core-logic. The overall package, including chipset, just got smaller due to the increasing integration and 45nm manufacturing, which means smaller, more compact system designs, lower costs for OEMs and improved performance. The new Atom processors have improved DirectX 10 graphics core compared to predecessors as well as high-definition video processor.
"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.
Since Intel announced the first Atom processors for netbooks and entry-level desktop PCs in June 2008, the market has expanded rapidly. Since introduction, Intel has shipped over 40 million Atom chips for netbooks to every major OEM around the world.
Intel has over 80 design wins to-date for the new Atom platform from such leading OEMs as Asustek Computer, Acer Group, Lenovo Group, Dell, MicroStar International, Toshiba, Samsung and Fujitsu. While the bulk of the systems will feature the new Windows 7 Starter or Home Basic operating system, consumers will have a choice when it comes to selecting an operating system, with some OEMs offering Moblin Linux v2 as an alternative for customers who desire a customizable and differentiated user interface.
According to sources close to Intel, there will be several next-gen Atom “Pineview”chips for netbooks and nettops unveiled in January:
- Intel Atom N450: single-core with Hyper-Threading support, 1.66GHz, 512KB cache, x86-64, BGA437 package, 7W TDP, $63 price-point;
- Intel Atom D510: dual-core with Hyper-Threading support, 1.66GHz, 1MB cache, x86-64, BGA437 package, 15W TDP, $63 price-point;
- Intel Atom D410: single-core with Hyper-Threading support, 1.66GHz, 512KB cache, x86-64, BGA437 package, 12W TDP, $43 price-point;