posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 20th Jan 2009 22:25 UTC
IconWe already reported on the fact that updated Intel Atom chips are expected to arrive somewhere in the second half of 2009. With the Atom being Intel's only platform that's actually profitable, it makes sense for the chip maker to focus a lot of effort into improving the platform. Information provided by the usually-reliable DigiTimes points to some serious improvements making their way to Intel's Atom chip. The new chip is codenamed Pineview.

The focus is on reducing the footprint of the Atom processor and its supporting chips - in the most literal sense: by reducing the mount of space required on the motherboard, we can enjoy lighter netbooks. The new Atom chip will have several functions on-die that normally would be outside of the processor, such as the memory controller, northbridge, and the GPU. These improvements cut the motherboard space needed for the Atom platform by 60%, from 2174mm to a mere 773mm.

The PCB design will feature four layers instead of six, which might reduce manufacturing costs, further bringing down the price of netbooks and other machines utilising the Atom platform. Clock speeds will increase; figures for the processor are unknown, but the graphics core will move from 133Mhz to 200Mhz. Memory will move up from DDR2-533 to DDR2-667.

Despite these performance improvements and size reductions, TDP will go down from 8 to 7W, while the average power consumption will be only 2W (which is now 2.5W).

Both single core and dual core version will be available, with the dual core variants going into nettops (those small footprint desktop boxes), and the single core versions into netbooks. It seems like the new Atom chips will pack some serious improvements, further increasing the likelihood that Via and AMD will have a hard time grabbing parts of the market.

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