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Intel to fast track Atom 2.0 introduction

New, more power-efficient netbooks after Xmas

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Expect a raft of new netbooks early next year - you may want to hold off buying one until after Christmas - as Intel plans to make a "fast transition" from the current generation of Atom processor to the next.

The chip giant will formally launch the successor to the N270 and N280 on 21 December, website Xbit Labs says after having seen what it claims are confidential company communications.

“Intel is planning for a fast transition to Pine Trail. To generate excitement for the platform ahead of launch, Intel is planning a press release in late December publicly disclosing the details of the platform,” the missive states.

That suggests Intel will push Pine Trail hard, steering PC vendors away from the older offerings wherever possible. Expect netbook vendors to be talking about nothing else at next January's Consumer Electronics Show, for example.

'Pine Trail' is the next-gen netbook and nettop platform. Its key component is 'Pineview', a new CPU that mingles the Atom N280 core with a DDR 2 memory controller and graphics core. These last two elements featured in older netbooks' chipset. By bringing them into the CPU package, Intel reduces the overall chip power consumption. Pine Trail's chipset, called 'Tiger Point' does nothing more than handle system I/O.

Intel's December announcement should centre on the single-core N450, a 1.66GHz mobile part that, like the N270/N280 has 512KB of L2 cache, and supports HyperThreading and 64-bit computing. For desktops, there will be the dual-core D510, also a 1.66GHz part, but with 1MB of L2. It will be accompanied by a 1.66GHz single-core desktop chip, the D410. It has 512KB of L2.

A second, more powerful mobile part, the 1.83GHz N470, is expected later in 2010. Like the N450, it will sit on a 667MHz frontside bus. ®

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