We’ve all become used to seeing the same N270 version of the Intel Atom in about every netbook around, even the clones. The Snapdragon chip could offer some variety, but that’s still a while off. Perhaps we’ve accepted that this is the way things are going to be – perhaps we’re so frustrated we just don’t care anymore. Thankfully, Intel has decided to upgrade and shake things up a bit!
The new Intel chip is the Atom N280, to be made available as soon as Q2 or Q3 this year. The new chip will be introduced in netbooks by ASUS, Acer, and Gigabyte, some seriously big names in the netbook business. ASUS has already developed a system based on the new CPU, introduced at CES 2009.
The N280 will get a new chipset upgrade too, replacing the older 945 GSE. That version is the one we’re so sick of. The new chipset is the GN40, which will provide a similar core frequency as the old one at 1.66 GHz. Its FSM runs at 667 MHz. The combination is expected to boost netbook performance in the near future, but there will definitely be a consequence to the cost of the machines.
According to Digitimes, the Atom N280 will cost “$60-65 in thousand-unit tray quantities,” whereas the Atom N270 costs $46.
While we deride it, the Intel Atom N270 was wildly successful in 2008. It has been credited with much of the speedy growth of netbooks in general.