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It is not a secret that thanks to media tablets and inexpensive notebooks the popularity of netbooks is declining rapidly. It looks like in the third quarter the fast erosion of netbooks intensified and consequently sales of Intel Corp.'s Atom central processing units dropped to two years minimum.

In the third quarter of FY2011, Intel Atom family revenue, including microprocessors and associated chipsets, was $269 million, down 24% from the second quarter and down 32% from the third quarter of 2010. The result is well-below logical seasonal patterns and clearly indicates lowering popularity of netbooks, such as Acer Aspire One- or Asus Eee PC-series, and nettops.


Given the lack of major tablet design wins, sales of Atom system-on-chips cannot offset dropping shipments of microprocessors for ultra low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs). Obviously, there are still millions of notebooks and netbooks sold, but their market share is dropping and volumes are most likely lower than combined sales of popular media tablets, such as Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.

It is noteworthy that despite of expectations from several years ago, Intel Atom did not become incredibly popular on emerging markets. Entry-level PCs did not conquer China, India, Latin America and others and so did not Atom.


But Intel believes that the game is over for Atom. In the coming years the company will not only continue to introduce new micro-architectures for Atom-branded solutions, but will continue to tailor microprocessors and system-on-chips for tablets, smartphones and so on.

"Intel has tailored Atom for low-end PCs, it is now tailoring it for tablets. We are tailoring different versions of Atom for handsets and cell phones, and other versions for embedded and automotive implementations," said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer of Intel, during a conference call with financial analysts.

In the next 36 months the world's largest maker of chips plans to release three major updates for its Atom family of solutions. The first one will be code-named Saltwell and will be made using 32nm process technology; the second is currently known as Silvermont and will be manufactured using 22nm/tri-gate fabrication processor; the third major improvement of the Atom has Airmont code-named and is aimed at 14nm fabrication process.

Tags: Intel, Atom, Pineview, Cedarview, Airmont, Saltwell, Silvermont, 45nm, 32nm, 22nm, 14nm


Comments currently: 14
Discussion started: 10/21/11 10:13:01 AM
Latest comment: 07/13/16 11:02:37 AM
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I prefer to see a Brazos CPU rather than an Atom CPU. On the paper Atom consumes 1/3 power of Brazos but in real world usage the difference is so low but the performance of Brazos is much higher than Atom.
2 1 [Posted by: veleciraptor  | Date: 10/21/11 10:17:54 AM]

But Intel believes that the game is over for Atom. In the coming years the company will not only continue to introduce new micro-architectures for Atom-branded solutions, but will continue to tailor microprocessors and system-on-chips for tablets, smartphones and so on.

That doesn't make any sense. Do you mean "isn't" instead of "is"? Because if they believe the game is over for Atom yet they will continue to make Atom based processors in the future, makes no sense.
1 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 10/21/11 11:38:34 PM]

The netbook phenomenon is declining but I think Atom will bounce back.

The problem is they haven't upgraded the process since launch (45nm). Obviously if you don't upgrade the technology then sales will drop off as your competition moves ahead of you.

But we will see 32nm next month and if we have 22nm next year, atom will be in a much better competitive position.

2 0 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 10/22/11 03:30:09 AM]
- collapse thread

There are early benchmarks of E-450 vs N2800 on internet. E-450 is much faster than upcoming Atom N2800 both PCMark and GPU related tests.
Edit: Added link for results
0 1 [Posted by: veleciraptor  | Date: 10/22/11 07:05:41 PM]
You try to compare E-450 having 17W TDP with Atom2 having 6.5 TDP and below. That's nonsense.
1 0 [Posted by: Azazel  | Date: 10/24/11 08:11:35 PM]
yeah even though it has higher TDP it can run up to 6hrs playing video. And that is AMD's offering to fight Intel so what's your prob?
0 2 [Posted by: pogsnet  | Date: 10/24/11 09:10:40 PM]
Netbook that use E-350/E-450 usually cost over $400

While netbook that will use N2800 is going to priced below $300

You are comparing two CPUs with different price range and different TDP

Moreover, Atom D525 (1.83GHz) is very competitive with E-350 in CPU benchmarks. Since N2800 is clocked exactly the same I expect it to be competitive with E-350 and better than C-50/60 in CPU benchmarks. Brazos is always going to be better in graphic performance
0 0 [Posted by: maroon1  | Date: 10/26/11 04:19:22 AM]

show the post
0 5 [Posted by: madooo12  | Date: 10/24/11 05:51:28 AM]

"But Intel believes that the game is over for Atom."
Should be "does not believe" since the article clearly states that they intend to continue releasing new versions of atoms.
1 0 [Posted by: taltamir  | Date: 10/24/11 09:58:00 AM]

Just because the sales of a certain CPU are declining doesn't mean that the sales of a type of computer are going to be doomed as well. Yes, Intel is a chip giant in the netbook market, but AMD has their share as well. Maybe more people are seeing The Brazos platform as the superior option. If this article were to include the historical sales of Atom and Brazos despite different launch periods, then only would the argument its trying to make would be less obscure.
0 0 [Posted by: DirectXtreme  | Date: 10/24/11 05:02:57 PM]

Very likely Atom was the most successful project of Intel.
It brought >4B$ (for about 4y.) and that many times more than Itanic managed to bring, in the same time Atom had much lower R&D and production costs than Itanic had.
0 0 [Posted by: Azazel  | Date: 10/24/11 08:55:53 PM]

End of netbooks? Nah, end of Atom for sure. It is so anemic platform for today's users. Netbook users maybe not like gamers but they want flawless video rendering and non laggy flash gaming. Most Atoms now on market can't deliver that plus it is lagging behind AMD brazos on performance and batter life.
0 0 [Posted by: pogsnet  | Date: 10/24/11 09:00:49 PM]

XBitLabs is manipulating the audience. You see, they hate Atom processors and have a biased attitude about them. They probably only use table PCs. They twist the fact that Atoms are slow in comparison, but they weren't in their own context 1 - 2 years ago. I love the usefulness of my Asus 1215N with Intel D525 and ION2. I hope that Intel will release the Ivy Brigde for netbooks, and I would upgrade my gaming netbook then.
1 0 [Posted by: TeemuMilto  | Date: 10/25/11 05:19:04 AM]


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