While PC vendors spent most of the 2009 International CES trying to outdo themselves when it comes to offering the latest and greatest "netbook" or mininotebook with an Intel Atom processor, rarely did these same companies talk about plans for low-cost desktops using the same chip.
Now, Lenovo seems to have come up with at least its own answer.
On Jan. 13, Lenovo announced a new consumer desktop called the H200, which uses an Intel Atom 230 processor running at 1.6GHz. This low-cost desktop or "nettop" starts at about $400 and is now available, according to Lenovo. The Lenovo H200 also offers a number of other standard features, including an Intel GMA 950 chip set, a minimum of 1GB of main memory and a 160GB SATA (serial ATA) hard disk drive.
While a desktop using an Intel Atom processor is rare, it is not unexpected and Intel has been encouraging its OEMs partners to try Atom in a number of different form factors, including desktops or nettops. In 2008, Hewlett-Packard reportedly showed its own version of a nettop in Taiwan called the HP Compaq Presario mini-Q 2020.
In addition to Lenovo and HP, Asus, which has had success with netbooks starting with the Eee PC, and MSI also have desktops that use an Intel Atom processor.
While the Intel Atom processor might help lower the costs of desktops even further and offer enough processing power to access the Internet and support basic applications, it is unlikely that many businesses, even small and midsized businesses (SMBs), would have much of an interest.
"The performance of the processor is adequate for things like going online and writing up documents," John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research, wrote in an e-mail.
"For the most part, it's going to be for systems sold in emerging market, though," Spooner added. "I don't see Atom-based desktops being a big hit for businesses or consumers in the U.S. or Western Europe, where something like a [Intel] Celeron or an AMD Sempron would probably be accepted more readily."
In addition to the H200 desktop, Lenovo has also used the Intel Atom in its own line of mininotebooks, including the IdeaPad S10, which was revamped at the 2009 CES. Hewlett-Packard and Dell also announced new mininotebooks at CES that use the Intel Atom.
Lenovo also announced two other consumer desktops on Tuesday: The IdeaCentre K220 and the K230. Each of these machines uses an Intel Core 2 Quad processor.