Intel launches 'Atom' at Computex

War of the 'netbooks' heats up

  • Intel believes that “netbook” is the proper term to be used instead of the incumbent, “ultra mobile PC”. “Nettop” is Intel's designation for cheap, low-powered desktops built for basic tasks such as Web browsing.

  • Intel announced a new range of “Atom” processors on 3 June during the Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan. Both the Atom N270 and the 230 feature 45nm cores with Atom microarchitechture, 512KB L2 caches and a front-side bus speed of 533MHz. They also feature SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 streaming SIMD extensions, for optimised performance in multimedia applications. Most importantly, the Atom 230 also features Hyper-Threading, which should mean smooth performance when multitasking.

  • The Asus Eee PC 901, 1000 and 1000H were announced during the Computex show; all feature Atom processors. The popular Eee PC series is credited with starting the ultraportable trend, but it is facing stiff competition from a number of contenders such as the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC.

  • The Atom-equipped Acer Aspire One is also causing a stir and will feature an 8.9in screen with a native resolution of 1024x600 at a price point similar to that of the Eee PC. Linpus Linux Lite and Windows XP are being offered as operating systems.

  • The Atom will be fighting a head-to-head battle against a number of competitors, the Via “Nano” being top of the list. Via is hoping its formidable processor will dent Atom’s strong opening position.

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