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Pineview netbooks won’t be ready for the holidays

Dec 4, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Taiwanese vendors wanted to launch their netbooks featuring Intel's next-generation Atom N450 (“Pineview”) this month, but have put them on hold following pressure from the chipmaker, Digitimes reports. The device will instead go on sale Jan. 11, following a formal launch of the new CPU and chipset, the publication adds.

Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and MSI all "originally planned to launch in December," but will now release their Atom N450-based products on Jan. 11, 2010, "complying with their agreement with Intel to only launch the products after January 10," write Digitimes reporters Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai. Smaller makers such as Taiwan-based Clevo and China-based Malata are also ready to ship N450-equipped netbooks after this date, their story adds.

The Digitimes story implies that Intel's formal announcement of its 1.66GHz N450, plus the "Tiger Point" NM10 southbridge that goes with it, will take place on Jan. 10. According to previous reports by the Fudzilla website, the new chips were originally set for a Jan. 3 introduction.

Intel's upcoming Pine Trail chipset
Source: Intel
(Click to enlarge)

According to Intel, the "Pine Trail" platform, depicted above, brings the Atom's memory controller and graphics core on-die, improving performance and significantly reducing thermal output. While the Atom N450 itself provides northbridge functionality, I/O is handled by the relatively simple NM10, the chipmaker adds.

"Pine Trail" will reportedly have an overall TDP of seven Watts, which appears to be a modest, but meaningful improvement over the 8.5-Watt TDP quoted by Intel for its current N270 and accompanying 945GSE chipset. (The gains pale beside Intel's forthcoming "Moorestown" platform, intended to replace the Z5xx "Silverthorne" Atoms, and claimed to offer an idle power consumption just 1/10th of today's Atoms.)

At first glance, Pine Trail appears to disappoint by offering only incremental TDP and performance improvements

Some observers believe that Pine Trail will also bring improved graphics capabilities, making basic Atom netbooks capable of playing back HD video at last, but we've seen no claims from Intel or other hard information in this regard.

According to Digitimes, pressure from Intel isn't the only reason for vendors to delay launch of N450-based netbooks, since some are concerned about "inventory pileups" of their existing models. When they do appear, devices will be offered with three operating systems, the publication adds: Moblin Linux, Windows 7 Starter Edition, and Windows XP Home Edition.

Windows 7 Starter Edition is the most popular choice among vendors, but also costs the most, Chen and Tsai write. Hardware manufacturers expect Google's Linux-based Chrome OS to launch in mid-to-late 2010, and hope it will pressure Microsoft to give them "more flexible [pricing] quotes," the reporters add.


The Digitimes report citing launch delays for Atom N450 netbooks may be found on the publication's website, here.

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