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Intel ships Cedar Trail-based Atom in netbook's last hurrah

updated 02:20 pm EST, Wed December 28, 2011

Intel Atom N2600 and N2800 ship

Intel ushered in what might be the swansong for netbooks on Wednesday by finally shipping Atom processors based on its Cedar Trail platform. Confirming rumors of another delay, it was shipping the 1.6GHz N2600 and 1.83GHz N2800 with the expectation that they would be available in early 2012. Familiar netbook supporters Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba had pledged new systems using the chips.

Cedar Trail primarily brings Atom up to date, building it on a 32 nanometer factory process and greatly improving the graphics support. The GMA 3600 and 3650 video in either is estimated to be about twice as fast as in earlier models and is fast enough to drive 1080p video, including Blu-ray. It now has native hooks for DisplayPort, HDMI, and WiDi (Wireless Display) streaming.

They can also recognize 64-bit operating systems and have lower overall power use than their ancestors, both in peak power and better throttling when they're not asked to move at full speed.

The Atom isn't expected to disappear, but Cedar Trail may be its last version where netbooks and nettops are the centerpiece. Leaks surrounding Centerton, one of the 2012 releases, have it shifting to storage. Medfield, in turn, will focus on phones and tablets and will see its successors keep that strategy through at least 2014.

Atom chips have seen a complete reversal of fortune in roughly two years. Once presumed to be a permanent mainstay in home PCs as netbooks reached their peak in 2009, the chips' share started declining almost immediately after the arrival of the iPad in spring 2010. Tablets now outnumber netbooks by a wide margin, and the Atom series remains one of the only Intel lineups with declining revenue in an otherwise upbeat 2011.

PC builders that had once leaned heavily on netbooks are either reducing their dependency or getting out. Dell is quitting almost entirely. Rumors have suggested that Samsung will bow out as well, although Intel's mention hints at least one more update in 2012. Acer plans to stay but has acknowledged after many months of denials that it will have to focus on the developing world, where tablets are usually too expensive or impractical as only systems.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Netbooks dying out??

    Hmmmm, seems Steve Jobs was right again. Smart man.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no no no!

    people will come to their senses and abandon the tablet fad and go back to netbooks! just like Acer's CEO said!

    in other news... Acer is moving to North Korea where newly-installed dictator Kim Jong Un will order all citizens to burn their iPads and instead purchase at least one netbook. Those who do not comply will be sent to labor camps.

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