Lenovo’s IdeaPad S12 is the soul of a netbook trapped in the anatomy of a notebook. It has now become clear that Lenovo plans to release three variants of this 12-inch netbook, which it had announced as the world’s first Ion-based netbook last month – the Ion-based SKU will be available later in the summer. Lenovo has begun accepting pre-orders for a Nano-based variant of this netbook. Of course, an Atom-powered SKU is also available.
The Via Nano powered IdeaPad S12 features a VIA Nano ULV 2250 processor and VIA Chrome9 HC3 graphics. The combination is expected to outperform the Atom-based S12 variant, featuring the Atom N270 processor along with Intel 945GSE chipset. The Nano-powered S12 can be ordered for $449, whereas its Atom-toting counterpart is priced $499.
ASRock, a subsidiary of Asus which made a name for itself offering hybrid AGP/PCI-E motherboards in the socket 939 days without a performance penalty, plans to release a netbook built around Nvidia's Ion platform. Or as ASRock wants to call it, a Multibook.
The 12.1-inch Multibook G22 will come with Intel's dual-core Atom 330 processor (1.60GHz), 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, Nvidia Ion graphics, 320GB hard drive (with support for up to 500GB), a 10-in-1 card reader, 1.3MP webcam, DVD burner, 3 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, and a bunch of other connections.
At 3.3 pounds sans battery and over an inch thick, it might be tough to classify the G22 as a netbook, which seems to be just fine with ASRock.
Intel is poised to phase out their Atom N270 CPU soon, thanks to the launch of its successor – the Atom N450.
The Atom N450 (codenamed Pine Trail) will be a single core CPU with built-in northbridge functions, and will work in concert with the brand new NM10 (Tiger Point) chipset. Intel will issue the last order notice for the N270 in Q1 of 2010, and the CPU will fully phase out by Q2 of 2010.
It’s expected that the N450 will launch in October of this year at the very earliest.
Fueled in large part by the continued demand for netbooks, Intel's Atom platform has been a runaway success, spurring competition from Nvidia (Ion) and VIA (Nano) in the low power CPU market. Get ready to add AMD to that list, who, according to CEO Dirk Meyer, is developing a platform of its own that will boast even lower power, more robust functionality, and a lower price than Atom.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for a competing netbook platform, right? Not so, says Meyer, who made it a point to reiterate the company's new platform will be aimed at notebooks. Moreover, Meyer predicted that the term netbook will go the way of the dodo as the line between netbooks and notebooks continues to blur.
No word yet on price, availability, or other specifics, except that samples of the new platform are expected to fall into partners' hands sometime in 2010.
Thanks in part to Intel's Atom platform, system builders are having an easier time designing fully-integrated PCs and a tapping into the increasingly popular all-in-one PC market. And that's exactly what Shuttle plans to do, if Computex is any indication.
Shuttle, most popular for its small form factor (SFF) PCs, had on display its upcoming X50 all-in-on PC. The new rig comes with a 15.6-inch 1336x768 widescreen display with touchscreen capabilities (the company was also showing smaller screen models), Intel's dual-core Atom 330 CPU and 945GC chipset combo, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB hard drive, a 1.3MP webcam, and a 4-in-1 card reader.
Fans of Shuttle's SFF rigs need not worry, however, as the company had on display several new SFF systems, including a pair that will tap into VIA's Nano processors.
The Atom processor is a pretty nifty little thing. It draws very little power, it doesn’t require much cooling – this allows PC creators to put them in just about anything. And, “anything” now includes a toy Ferrari and a vase.
These two computers sport nettop stats, and it’s expected that the Ferarri enclosed machine is being aimed at kids, while the Vase case is for those that just want to hide their machine amongst their pottery.
No word yet on price or availability, but it’s expected that these are simply meant as proof of concept.
(Sorry about the small picture size – be sure to check out the respective articles for better views).
PC makers have been decrying the impact of low margin netbooks on their bottom line for over a year now, but Intel is trying to calm their fears by making new predictions for the future of mobile computing. Numbers posted at the end of March peg netbook sales at around 16 per cent of all portable computer purchases, but Intel claims the steadily decreasing cost of ultra-thin laptops will help to keep that number from growing. The ultra-thin category is traditionally dominated by new ultra low voltage CPU’s, which offer better performance than both Celeron, and Atom processors, with an increasingly more reasonable price premium. According to Intel’s marketing chief, Sean Maloney, "Atom is eating into Celeron. And we're quite fine with this".
Maloney predicts that ultra-thin laptops will start offering stiff competition for high end netbooks priced above $400, primarily because the price difference has shrunk in some cases to as little as a $200. Intel’s internal projections released during the May 12th presentation shows sales increasing exponentially near the end of the year, and clearly, this is where they expect to see the bulk of their growth in the portable PC market.
Intel predicts that future growth markets for netbooks will be children and cellphone providers who bundle 3G service with the computer to further subsidize the price to consumers. Do you think people only buy netbooks because they are cheap? Or are some people just looking for a good ultra-portable?
It's official. Now that Lenovo has announced its Ion-based IdeaPad S12, Intel's Atom platform finally has some competition in the netbook arena.
"We've heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we've responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today's market," said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional Nvidia Ion graphics."
The new 12-inch netbook comes equipped with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), up to 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, up to a 320GB hard drive, and of course integrated Nvidia Ion graphics, the main selling point of the S12.
GottaBeMobile.com has posted videos of the new ultraportable in action, noting that it's "fully capable of being a primary computer for those with basic needs." And we have to admit, the prospect of HD video and serviceable Call of Duty 4 framerates on a sub-$500 portable is mighty appealing.
Lenovo says the S12 will be available in June through business partners starting at $450, with Nvidia Ion-based units "available later this summer."
Intel's Atom platform has been such a resounding success, one has to wonder what the No. 1 chip maker has planned for a follow-up. You don't have to wonder anymore, as Intel this week officially unveiled 'Pine Trail', the codename for Atom's successor.
The CPU used in Pine Trail, called 'Pineview,' moves the memory controller and GPU onto the same die as the CPU. This means Pine Trail will be a two-chip solution, one less than Intel's current netbook platform. In theory, this should result in cost savings and lower power consumption.
Pineview is being built on a 45nm manufacturing process. Intel hasn't said what type of memory controller it will use, though previous speculation pointed to single-channel DDR2. But what's most interesting is how the war between Intel and Nvidia is shaping up. Like Pine Trail, Nvidia's Ion platform is also a two-chip solution and will have had time to mature by the time Pine Trail debuts later this year. Performance looks to be better on the 9400M-based Ion as well, but Intel's price structure for selling standalone Atoms could put Nvidia at a disadvantage. Moreover, what chips will Nvidia use once Intel makes the move to a CPU+GPU solution?
You may have thought Intel's Atom processor line was only suitable for netbooks and nettops, but 'au contraire mon fraire,' says Supermicro, who recently announced the launch of 4W and 8W Atom server solutions.
"Bringing the low-power consumption advantages of Atom processors to the server appliance market empowers our customers with energy-saving, quiet solutions that provide flexible expansion and storage features previously unattainable with Atom solutions," said Charles Lian, president and CEO of Supermicro.
Two platforms are being outfitted with Intel Atom chips, the X7SLA-L with a single-core Atom 230 processor, support for up to four SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, seven USB 2.0 headers, 2GB of DDR2 memory, and Intel GMA 950 graphics, and the X7SLA-H, which uses the dual-core Atom 330 processor and doubles up power consumption from 4W to 8W.
Both servers weight just 10 pounds and are under 10 inches deep, and both offer support for full-height, half-length expansion cards. They're also quiet thanks to a fanless chassis.