Not even Intel could have predicted how wildly popular its Atom processor would be, because if it did, it might have scaled back production from the get-go. Instead, the No. 1 chip maker is reportedly keeping its eye on the Chinese market to make sure it doesn't sell too many Atoms, going so far as to reject orders from some China-based white-box vendors, says DigiTimes.
Intel did offer up a response, calling the story unfounded and saying it doesn't comment on industry rumors, but DigiTimes' un-cited sources insist that they're being watched very closely to prevent a surge of Atom chips in China. The sources added that Taiwan-based Intel CPU distributors have had to stop accepting orders from China-based white-box makers.
It might seem strange that Intel would look to sell less product, however fierce competition in China among white-box players has started to cut into traditional notebook sales where there exists a greater profit margin. It's easy to see why, at least in this case, Intel would want to scale back Atom sales, if in fact the chip maker is doing that.
Taiwan IC distributors expect that the supply of Atom processors will fall short of demand by 500,000 units this month in China.
Two new nettops based on Nvidia's Ion platform have been unveiled in Taipei this week, one by ASRock and the other by Pegatron Technology. ASRock's Ion 330 trades in the oft-used single-core Atom processor for a dual-core variant, the Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus). Not much else is known about the PC, other than it comes with an integrated DVD optical drive.
Taking up a slimmer form factor, Pegatron's Cape 7 comes encased in white plastic and has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector for an external power brick. It doesn't come with an optical drive, nor are there any details regarding the processor.
While these are some of the first dual-core Atom 330 based nettops to be spotted in the wild, they won't be the last. According to web rumblings, Nvidia expects around 40 Ion platforms to show up on the markt by the end of the year, some of which are bound to come with dual-core Atoms.
Following a board meeting last week, VIA has come to the conclusion that it needs to cut capital to NT$5.17 billion ($153.4 million USD), a 60 percent reduction. A shareholder meeting on June 19th will decide when the reduced capital will take place. As a result of the planned reduction, VIA said it expects shares to improve to $NT11.36, or almost three times as much as the current NT$4.50 share price.
VIA didn't say what effect the reduced capital would have on its Nano processor roadmap, which could put the heat on Intel in coming months. Citing un-named market sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes notes that demand for Intel's Atom netbook CPUs has been slowing down lately in the wake of price cuts by low-end notebooks. The sources also attributed the reduced demand to consumer anticipation of the next generation of Atom processors, currently scheduled for the second half of this year.
Earlier this month, we caught wind (no pun intended, MSI) of Samsung's upcoming netbook, the N120. Details were scarce at the time, with only half-baked preliminary e-tailer product pages to go off of, but that's no longer the case. Amazon (and others) are now selling the N120 that Samsung has been surprisingly quiet about.
Available in both black (N120-12GBK) and white (N120-12GW) trim, the new 10.1-inch netbook model keeps it simple (read: boring) with an Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache) processor on an Intel 945GSE chipset, integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, a 160GB/5400RPM hard drive, 1GB of DDR2-667 memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, 3 USB 2.0 ports, 3-in-1 memory card reader, 1.3MP webcam, Windows XP, and a handful of other features we've now seen a thousand times before.
We've spotted several vendors selling the N120 for around $465.
Believe it or not, your terrifically fast Core i7 fresh off Intel's assembly line contains DNA that dates back over three decades. The same is true if you roll with AMD's latest silicon, the Phenom II X4. We're of course referring to the longstanding x86 microprocessor architecture that has dominated the desktop and mobile scene since before some of you were even born, and will probably be a mainstay still yet for many more years to come.
Invented by Intel in 1978, the x86 architecture has evolved through the ages, not only getting faster, but increasingly flexible as more and more extensions and instruction sets accompany each new release. It's been a wild ride the past 30 years, and whether you lived through it all or have only recently picked up your first processor, we invite you to join as we look back at not only the most popular x86 CPUs in its history, but ones you may never even have heard of.
Buckle up, sit back, and join us after the jump for a look back at the x86 timeline.
For some time now Intel has been working on a Linux-based operating system (now in its alpha stage of testing), named Moblin. The goal of Moblin is to provide the Atom CPU a light and fast OS that is far less demanding than a full version of Windows.
According to those in the alpha test, Moblin can offer two second boot times (with some optimization). If all this were true, then it would give us the fastest booting OS available. Intel’s Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou is very much on board as well, stating, “We think that two second boot is possible.”
A two second boot would provide an ideal platform for mobile systems (such as netbooks and MIDs) to operate on. For many, having a system in sleep mode (which drains the battery) is preferable to booting the system each and every time they want to use it. The concept of a two second boot would eliminate the need for this.
So, given the concept of a two second boot, would you be willing to ditch Windows and give Moblin a try? Let us know in the comments!
How do you celebrate the 1-year anniversary of what's become one of the hottest selling chip series in recent history? Make it faster, and then show it off during a keynote at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing..
It was Intel senior VP and GM of the Ultra Mobility Group Anand Chandrasekher who gave the keynote, which included the first live demo of Intel's next-generation Atom-based MID platform, codenamed "Moorestown." The upcoming platform is due out in 2010 and consists of a system-on-chip that integrates a 45nm Atom CPU, graphics, video and memory controller, and I/O hub.
During the keynote, Intel also announced a pair of new Atom processors for MIDs. First on the lineup is the Z515, which incorporates the new Intel Burst Performance Technology (BPT) and runs at 1.2GHz. But of more interest in the Z550. This chip races along at 2GHz and supports Hyperthreading, and it does so at under 3 watts of power.
Obama may have sold the idea of hope and change to the American populace, but can his name sell a low-power PC? Little known Taiwanese company Seed seems to think so, who was spotted selling what it's calling the 'Obama PC,' otherwise known as a nettop, and a pretty basic one at that.
Built around the mini-ITX form factor, the Obama PC comes configured with an Intel Atom 230 processor nestled into Intel's 945GC chipset, 2GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, DVD burner, four rear-mounted USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 ports, a parallel port, a serial port, a D-sub connector, and a 10/100Mb Ethernet port. It also adds another two USB 2.0 ports on the front, a 3.5-inch drive bay, and an internal PCI expansion slot.
The presidential PC sells for NT$7,999, which converts to about $242 in U.S. currency. No word on whether or not Seed plans to import a version for sale in the U.S. If it does, look for Biden-branded peripherals to accompany it.
A well-informed tipster just leaked Dell’s brand new Latitude 2100 “Welch” laptops to Gizmodo, where they’re now spreading the news about the school-oriented netbooks.
These new little beasts will be based off of Intel’s Atom processor (up to 1.6GHz), can support an optional SSD, pack up to 2GB of RAM, and weigh just under 3lbs. There’s also three USB ports, a SD/MMC slot, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n, Bluetooth, 3 and 6-cell battery options, a 10-inch screen, and the possibility of a touchscreen.
As for pricing and availability, it should be out around May 2009, just in time for the back to school shopping season, and cost under $600.
While Intel’s line of Z5xx Atom processors have already impressed the masses with their clock speeds ranging from 1.1GHz to 1.86GHz (all on 2.2 watts of power or less!), Intel feels like they’ve got more to prove.
The newest additions to the Atom family are the Z550 which clocks in at 2GHz while drawing only 2.4 watts and the Z515, with a dynamic clock speed ranging from 800MHz to 1.33GHz (depending on what you’re doing).
It’s expected that these chips will mostly see their way into mobile phones and MIDs, but the Z550 seems well within the realm of netbooks.