Intel to Stop Selling Ultra Low Voltage Atom Processors to Netbook Manufacturers

Intel to Reserve Atom Z-Series to MID Makers Only

by Anton Shilov
07/31/2009 | 03:06 PM

Several makers of netbooks recently started to utilize ultra low voltage Atom Z-series microprocessors, which are generally aimed at mobile Internet devices, for their netbooks. This allowed them to design sleeker models with longer battery life, but Intel Corp. reportedly said that it would stop selling such chips for netbooks.

 

Intel Atom Z-series microprocessors operate at 800MHz – 1.86GHz clock-speeds, thus, provide similar performance compared to typical Atom chips, but have only 0.65W – 2.4W thermal design power. Moreover, there is Atom Z550 chip that operates at 2.0GHz, which results in considerably higher performance compared to typical Atom processors that can also boast with 2.4W TDP. Although Intel Atom 230 (1.60GHz), N270 (1.60GHz) and N280 (1.66GHz) also feature 4W or 2.5W thermal design power, they do not support very advanced power management features of Atom Z-series, such as C0/C1(e)/C2(e)/C4(e) power states, Intel Deep Power Down technology (C6), L2 dynamic cache sizing, Split Vtt support for lowest processor power state and so on, thus, for sleeker designs Atom Z is more preferable.

At present, there are numerous netbooks utilizing various Atom Z-series processors from companies like Acer Group, Asustek Computer, Fujitsu and Microstar International.

According to DigiTimes web-site, Intel has informed its customers that it would not accept any more orders for its Atom Z family chips from netbook makers shortly. Intel is projected to entirely stop the supply of Atom Z-series central processing units to the netbook market before the end of 2009. The report claims that Intel wants to “digest its inventory”.

It is logical for Intel to stop supplying its premium Atom Z-series to netbook makers in 2010 since early next year the firm starts shipping its code-named Pineview processors for netbooks that feature integrated graphics core and some other advantages. Obviously, the company does not need internal competition between the current-generation and next-generation processors in the higher-end segment of the netbook market.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.