Intel to ship new Pineview netbook chips in Q4

New Pineview chips for netbooks are smaller and draw less power than current Atom chips

Intel will ship a new line of Atom processors for netbooks and nettops during the fourth quarter of this year, a company official said late on Wednesday.

Processors codenamed Pineview will succeed the Atom chips that currently go into most netbooks, said Jeff DeMuth, who works with Intel's platform marketing, at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The processor will ship to PC makers in the fourth quarter, DeMuth said.

DeMuth declined comment on when netbooks with Pineview chips would reach consumers. However, netbooks could ship a few months later, perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2010.

Netbooks are small and inexpensive laptops designed to run Web and basic productivity applications. Intel introduced the first Atom chips last year, and today most netbooks are based on the processor.

Earlier this year, Intel said it was going to update the original Atom chips with the Pineview chips, which would be faster and lead to thinner netbook designs with better battery life. Pineview is part of the Pine Trail platform, which has a number of improvements that makes the chip smaller while dropping power consumption.

Intel will also ship new chips as part of the Pine Trail platform for nettops, small form factor desktops the size of hard cover books.

The chip integrates graphics and memory controller inside the CPU, which has reduced the package size by as much as 70 percent compared to the previous generation of Atom chips, DeMuth said. Intel officials have said they wanted to make smaller chip packages so PC makers can design thinner netbooks. The integrated chips also reduce the power drawn by netbooks.

Integrating the memory controller will help the processor and memory communicate faster. 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, Intel's integrated graphics have been criticized for limited multimedia capabilities. DeMuth declined to comment on the level of video support offered by Pineview's integrated graphics chip.

The integration also helps reduce the CPU cost which could lead to cheaper devices, DeMuth said.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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