Intel: New Atom chips set for release later this year

New Atom chips will be released on time later this year

Intel said on Wednesday that it will deliver new Atom chips on time later this year, rejecting a report that the chips have been delayed until 2010.

At least one report Tuesday said Intel had delayed the release of its new Atom platform, Pine Trail-M, which includes Atom chips based on a new architecture. The platform integrates a graphics processor and memory controller onto the Atom processor.

The report is incorrect and Pine Trail-M is scheduled for release to PC makers later this year, said Mooly Eden, general manager of the mobile platforms group at Intel, during an event in San Francisco.

He didn't say when this year the platform would be released, but said that Intel may show some prototype Pine Trail-M netbooks at the Intel Developer Forum in September.

Pine Trail's delay had been tied to rumors about Acer and Asustek Computer holding off on plans to release new netbooks until next year. An Acer spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on rumors and Asus did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Netbooks are small, low-cost laptops designed for basic tasks like Internet browsing and word processing.

Pine Trail should bring improved performance and power savings to netbooks, Intel officials have said. Integrating the memory controller will help the processor and memory communicate faster, removing memory latency affecting existing Atom architectures. An integrated graphics processor will process multimedia faster, while freeing up bandwidth for the processor to communicate with other components.

Intel's current netbook architecture puts the graphics and memory capabilities on a separate chipset. However, as netbook users demand better graphics, the 945GSE chipset in current Atom netbooks has been criticized for its limited graphics capabilities compared to Nvidia's Ion platform, which pairs the Atom chip with a GeForce graphics core to deliver full 1080p graphics capabilities.

Pine Trail also uses fewer chips compared to existing Atom architectures, which could allow PC makers to design thinner laptops, Intel officials have said.

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Agam Shah

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