Originally expected to show up in the second half of 2009, Intel has begun shipping its Atom N280 processor to PC makers several months ahead of schedule, says InfoWorld. Like its predecessor, the N270, the newest Atom also utilizes a single-core design and is intended for netbooks, but there's more than meets the eye than a simple clockspeed boost.
Unlike the N270, which was paired with the 945GSE chipset, the N280 + GN40 chipset combo brings high-definition content to netbooks. The hardware-based high definition video decoder makes it possible to view 720p HD videos, making the platform a bit more competitive with Nvidia's upcoming Ion, which brings 1080p content to the table.
Spec-wise, the N280 jogs along at 1.66GHz, a slightly faster pace than the N270's 1.6GHz clockspeed. The frontside bus also receives a bump to 667MHz (compared to 533MHz), and power consumption comes rated at 2.5W.
Intel did not say how much the new chip will cost, but it will be used in Asus $399 Eee PC 1000HE netbook.