Intel is unveiling its next-generation Atom chip platform, which includes integrated graphics capabilities and an on-board memory controller, changes that Intel says will improve the Atom platform's performance, size and energy efficiency. As part of the platform, Intel is rolling out two CPUs aimed at the entry-level desktop space, as well as another one designed for netbooks.
Intel is rolling out a new Atom platform that will include
integrated graphics capabilities and memory controller, a move that
company officials say will lead to better performance, energy
efficiency and new designs of both netbooks and entry-level desktop PCs.
The new chips will begin to appear in systems in January, Intel said Dec. 21.
The Atom chip, first introduced in June 2008, as been the key
technology driving the netbook market, which has been one of the few
segments in the tech industry to perform well during the global
recession-thanks to the small size and low cost of the systems--and a
lone bright spot in the PC space during the past year.
Now the chip-the smallest in Intel's portfolio-will begin finding
its way into entry-level desktops, continuing Intel's aggressive plans
for expanding the platform's reach.
"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," Mooly Eden, corporate vice
president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group, said in a
The new Atom platform should lead to new systems with better battery
life, smaller footprints and greater performance, according to Intel.
The integrated graphics and memory controller is an important part
of that, the chip maker said. That not only will the integration help
with the improved performance, but it will also mean lower power and a
smaller overall size, now that the Atom platform will mean two
chips-the CPU and chip set-rather than three-the CPU, chip set and I/O
Intel has seen rapid adoption of its Atom technology. ABI Research
is predicting that Atom shipments will grow into the hundreds of
millions by 2011, and both Gartner and IDC say the netbook space will
continue to expand. Gartner in November predicted that mini-notebook
shipments will reach 29 million in 2009 and 41 million in 2010.
Intel also is courting developers to help expand the Atom-based
netbook reach. At the Intel Developer Forum in September, Intel
officials introduced its Atom Developer Program, which is designed to
make it easier for developers to create and market applications for the
platform. Intel on Dec. 12 released a beta version of the program's SDK
(software development kit).
The new platform includes the Atom N450 processor and NM10 Express
chip set for netbooks, and either the D410 or dual-core D510-also with
the NM10 Express chip set-for entry-level desktops.
The chips run at 1.66Ghz.