Computex 2008: Netbooks & WiMAX  

At Computex in Taipei, Intel rolled out two new versions of its Atom processor aimed at powering a new generation of low cost computers. It will also roll out high-end chip sets for more traditional desktops, targeting high definition video. Intel’s Sean Maloney kicked off the keynote with an Intel-centric view of the world. PC World has indepth coverage of Computex 2008.

The new Atom parts include the N270 for so-called netbooks and the N230 for what Intel calls net-tops. The chips run at up to 1.6 GHz, provide 512 Mbytes cache and a 533 MHz front-side bus. They have average power consumption as low as 2.5 W.

The portable netbooks should sell for about $250-300, reports EE Times, while some net-tops may cost as little as $200, said Erik Reid, director of mobile platforms at Intel. The new price points could drive as many as 100 million new users to the Web by 2011, the company forecasts.

The main focus at Computex was on the Netbook. The $299 EeePC, running Linux on a 7″ screen, became a sales phenomena. Since its launch in October 2007, the Eee PC series has sold more than 1 million units, at between $399 and $549 each.

It has spurred a variety of small, inexpensive Netbooks. Most now run on an Intel Atom processor at 1.6 MHz, feature XP or Linux, real hard drive space and wireless options like WiMax. Intel estimates a netbook using the Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, a 7-inch to 10-inch screen, 512MBs of RAM, and 2GBs to 4GBs of flash storage should cost around $250.

Intel was also demoing Centrino 2 (Montevina) gear at Computex, using the Asus M51VA WiMAX client.

Intel’s new Montevina architecture, with new graphics, memory and communications components, has been delayed a month until July 14th.

Intel expects that a WiFi/WiMAX option will be essentially “free” when tied to its Centrino and Atom processors, stimulating sales of both Netbooks and full-size Notebooks.

Nvidia unveiled their laptop GPUs, called the GeForce 9M Series, expected to compete with Intel. The new chips are said to offer many of the same benefits found on Nvidia’s latest desktop offerings.

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