Acer's overhauled Aspire Revo 3600 nettop picks up where its predecessor left off. Like the original Aspire Revo, the new 3600 model supports HD video courtesy of Nvidia's Ion platform, but the latest iteration trades in the comparatively anemic single-core 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor for a 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330.
Right off the bat, doubling up on cores will come as a boon to anyone, um, aspiring to do more than basic tasks with the Aspire Revo. Other specs include 4GB of DDR2-533 memory, an HDMI port, and VESA mount compatibility.
Finding a dual-core netbook is a lot like looking for the Loch Ness Monster - you keeping hearing it exists, but no one's been able to prove it. According to a Japanese technology website, not only does it exist (a dual-core netbook, that is), but Shenzhen Weibu Electronics will "soon" have one for sale.
The upcoming netbook ditches the familiar single-core Atom N2xx processor for Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N330 chip with 1MB of cache. And the N330 supports hyper-threading as well. If that weren't enough, the new netbook will be built around Nvidia's Ion platform with integrated Nvidia 9400M graphics, just like those fancy MacBooks boast.
Other specs include 1GB of memory, a 150GB hard drive, webcam, and 802.11 g/b WiFi. And as one would expect, the N10A, as the netbook's being dubbed, will hit the wallet harder than existing netbooks to the tune of 49,800 yen, or about $530 USD. That starts encroaching on traditional 15-inch notebook pricing, but if other vendors follow suit with similarly spec'd machines, the next generation of netbooks could get awfully exciting.
Late last month, several notable netbook manufactures -- including Asus and Acer -- scrapped plans to launch new netbook models in the second half of this year because of Intel delaying the launch of its Pine Trail-M platform. But according to the latest rumor making the rounds, MSI appears on track to release mobile Pine Trail-based netbooks in time for the holidays, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports.
By launching the new platform ahead of schedule, MSI will get a leg up on the competition and avoid having to compete on price, at least from the outset. Combined with the high anticipation for Windows 7, slated for release on October 22nd, MSI could find itself in a very favorable position this holiday shopping season.
Or maybe not. There remains some question as to how Intel's next-generation Atom processors, codenamed Pineview, will compare to existing parts. The new chips are expected to be mroe energy effecient, but they might not be much faster and they could end up costing more than the currently shipping Atom chips, mobile news site Liliputing says.
Despite tough economic times the world over, the processor market grew by 10.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, driven in large part by continued demand for Intel's Atom processor. That being the case, one would think we'd see more Atom-based mobile Internet devices (MIDs) or ultramobile PCs (UMPCs) show up in the market place, so why aren't we?
That's the question news site Arstechnica set out to answer, and what they discovered was pretty interesting. After failing to find many Atom-based MIDs or UMPCs for sale on the web, Arstechnica took a jaunt over to Intel's online list of MID/UMPC products intended to showcase what the company's technology can do, only to discover an outdated page. Everything listed is based on Intel's old McCaslin platform and out of production, which would seem to indicate that MIDs and UMPCs aren't a high enough priority for Intel to even bother updating its page.
"MIDs are very much alive and well, still are very central to our strategy in the mobile handheld space," said Shane Wall, VP of Intel's Mobility Group. "And we have a roadmap that certainly goes beyond 2012."
Walls went on to describe the MID sector as a work-in-progress, saying "it's what we had hoped it would be at this point. And in terms of volume it's above what our internal targets are." If only the retail channel agreed.
In November of last year, Intel's Atom processor was noted as being largely responsible for record growth in the processor market. While no more records are being broken, the processor market continues its upward climb -- to the tune of 10.1 percent in the second quarter of this year -- and once again, Intel's Atom chip is the reason why.
"The percentage of Intel's revenue earned in Asia/Pacific grew from 51 percent in 1Q09 to 55 percent in 2009," Shane Rau, director of Semiconductors: Personal Computing research at IDC, noted in a statement. "This fact, combined with the significant sequential 'snap-back' rise in Intel's overall processor shipments -- particularly Atom shipments -- while AMD's overall shipments were about flat, indicate that the PC processor market didn't recover in 2Q09."
The growth from Q1 to Q2, notes IDC, is mostly attributable to manufacturers replenishing their chip inventory rather than increased consumer demand for PCs. Predicting that most OEMs have now balanced their inventories, IDC says going forward we're more likely to see what the actual demand really is.
Thanks to swirling rumors suggesting that Intel is in the process of killing off its Atom Z CPUs early in favor of focusing on their new Pine Trail platform, Intel has come out to debunk any heresy, stating that they have no such plans.
“Rumors of 'industry sources' stating that Intel is no longer taking Atom Z processors orders for netbooks, or any other products, or ending production by end of year are 100% inaccurate,” stated an Intel spokesperson, regarding the matter.
It should be noted though, that once Pine Trail is introduced the Atom Zs will be eventually phased out. Intel still plans on a later part of this year to do so.
Not all rumors turn out to be true, and according to Intel, recent reports suggesting the chip maker was delaying its next-generation "Pine Trail" Atom until next year are completely false.
"Pine Trail is on schedule," Mooly Eden, general manager of the Mobile Platforms Group at Intel, said at the Intel Technology Summit on Wednesday in San Francisco. "We are going to ship revenue shipments in the second half of the year. You come to IDF (slated for September) and see the maturity of the product."
Pine Trail will consist of an integrated graphics processor built into the same slice of silicon as the main processor, which will also share space with the memory controller. This will shrink the number of chips in the Atom platform from three to only two, which is expected to result in a cheaper platform with a lower power draw.
Despite AMD's insistence that it has no interest in pursuing the netbook market, Gateway's first take on the segment resulted in the AMD Athlon Neo-based LT3100, an 11.6-inch netbook chugging along at 1.6GHz. This time around, Gateway takes the traditional route, building its newly introduced LT2000 netbook around the Intel Atom platform.
Sporting a smaller 10.1-inch LED-backlit LCD display, the LT2000 comes equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, two 160GB hard drives, integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, WiFi, built-in webcam, three USB ports, a 3-cell battery, and Windows XP Home with SP3.
Other configurations will also be available in both black or 'Cherry Red.' As spec'd, Gateway lists an MSRP of $300.
Netbooks might not be getting bigger (or else they'd be called notebooks), but according to Slashgear, the average screen resolution in systems using Intel's Atom N-series chipsets is going up, and with the chip maker's blessing.
"According to HKEPC, Intel has increased the maximum allowed resolution from 1024 x 600 to 1366 x 768, as seen on the recently-announced Sony VAIO W," Slashgear wrote.
As it stands right now, in order to use the higher resolution panels, companies must choose from Intel's Z-series Atom chips, or else forgo the preferential N-series pricing. Intel's reasoning for doing this has been to clearly distinguish between a netbook and notebook, but perhaps the company is now content to let the physical screen size separate the two segments.
According to recent reports, Samsung is planning to launch an 11.6-inch netbook based off of Nvidia’s Ion in July.
The reports haven’t said much, but what is known is that the netbook will be run off of an Intel Atom N-series CPU, and that it’ll break Intel’s previously listed 10.2-inch size limit for netbooks. Intel has since cancelled preferential pricing for Samsung.
No official word yet on exactly what the netbook will be called, or what regions can expect it.