Though the netbook and nettop markets aren’t quite as thriving as they once were (due to powerful options becoming ever more affordable and a shift to tablets as secondary devices) there’s still a heck of a lot of market share to be had – especially now that we will be seeing more of Intel’s brilliantly-named Atom chips in those tablets.
The netbook and nettop is a market where Intel has been the underdog recently, with its Atoms requiring Nvidia’s ION graphics solutions before they could handle such ordinary tasks as high-bitrate 1080p video or very light 3D gaming – but that’s finally set to change with the new Atom processors coming to market.
In order of TDP we have the 1.6-1.86GHz N2600, which uses a mere 3.5W. The 1.86-2.13GHz N2800 gets along on 6.5W, which is more similar to the older Atom chips in its power to performance ratio (remember the N470, running at 1.83GHz with a 6.5W TDP?).
The D2000 ‘Cedar Trail’ series offer a little more performance for a little more juice and are aimed at nettops (think ‘D’ for Desktop), with the D2500 running at 1.86-2.13GHz while the D2700 ups this to 2.13-2.4GHz. That’s actually approaching proper Pentium or Core speeds – in terms of megahertz at least; don’t expect these chips to match up to similarly-rated ‘proper’ CPUs. All chips except the D2500 will have support for Hyper-threading and up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which is a very welcome upgrade over the previous 2GB limit.
However, what’s most exciting here really isn’t the extra processing power or features (welcome as they might be), but the new integrated graphics found on all these chips. Finally, these Atoms should live up to AMD’s Fusion APU and Nvidia’s ION efforts when it comes to visuals.
Not only will they be able to handle any type of HD video, but they’ll sling out two simultaneous 1080p streams! Even better, these Atom GPUs will finally support digital outputs, including HDCP on DVI/DisplayPort/HDMI up to 1.3a.
With analogue VGA’s demise already set in stone (or at least quick-drying cement), this is a very good thing, and a large step in removing our objections to Intel-based netbooks. Let’s hope the new Atoms will make for worthy competition to AMD’s low-power Fusion chips.
Via: The Inquirer