IDF - Intel discloses pricing for Centrino Atom

Intel announced pricing for its Centrino Atom chip package Wednesday,

Intel's Centrino Atom chip package will cost between US$45 and US$160, depending on the clock speed of the Atom processor that is included, the company announced at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shanghai on Wednesday.

There will be five versions of the Atom processor, formerly called Silverthorne, available as part of the Centrino Atom package. These processors run at maximum clock speeds of 800MHz, 1.1GHz, 1.33GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz and cost US$45, US$45, US$65, US$95 and US$160, respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities, a standard way of quoting chip prices.

These prices are lower than Intel's Core 2 Duo mobile processors, which range in price from US$637 to US$209 in 1,000-unit quantities, according to Intel's March 25 price list. But the Centrino Atom prices are high enough to suggest that MIDs based on the chips will not be cheap when they hit the market.

The most basic of these first MIDs will likely cost US$500, "plus or minus a hundred," said Gary Willihnganz [CQ], director of marketing at Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, adding that MID prices will rise depending on what features, such as Windows or additional memory, are added to the device.

The first generation of products will be targeted at "enthusiasts" and other early adopters, Willihnganz said.

The Atom processors found in Centrino Atom have a thermal design power (TDP) ranging from 0.65 watts to 2.4 watts, and draw 80 milliwatts to 100 milliwatts when idling, Intel said. TDP represents maximum sustained power that users are likely to see with the chips, not the maximum amount of power the chips can consume.

Besides the processor, these prices include Intel's System Controller Hub, a single-chip chipset formerly called Poulsbo. Unlike versions of Centrino for laptops, Centrino Atom pricing does not include a wireless networking chipset, which is available separately.

Formerly called Menlow, Centrino Atom is intended for small, handheld computers that employ a touch screen or slide-out keyboard. Intel calls them Mobile Internet Devices, or MIDs, and envisions them as a tool for users to access the Internet while on the go, or to play media files. The first MIDs are expected to be available soon.

The Atom processor used in Centrino Atom is closely related to another chip, called Diamondville. That version of the Atom processor is set for release during the third quarter and will be used in low-cost laptops. Pricing for Diamondville has not yet been released.

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