New lower power 32nm chips opt for PowerVR graphics instead of the rubbish old GMA but is it enough?

Intel kicks out new ‘Cedar Trail’ Atom CPUs

Intel has launched the latest series of Atom processors previously codenamed ‘Cedar Trail’ which the chipmaker says "boosts performance and battery life in affordable, small, compact, on-the-go devices".

The new Intel Atom N2600 and N2700 are both dual core devices with the same hyperthreading capabilities leading to four threads in total. The N2600 is clocked at 1.6GHz and is capable of fanless operation with the N2800 is clocked at 1.86GHz and requires a little extra cooling.

Both processors use less power than the former generation, largely thanks to a new 32nm process and architecture improvements. The new Atom chips also incorporate full HD video decoding and offer faster memory, DDR3-800 for the N2600 and DDR3-1066 for the N2800.

The Cedar Trail platform also ditches Intel’s GMA graphics core and goes with a PowerVR SGX 545 clocked at 400MHz on the N2600 and 640MHz on the N2800. The new GPU is set to be over twice as fast as the GMA 3150.

The fact Intel went out of house for graphics is perhaps a strong indication of the competition the company faces from AMD with the beefy Radeon graphics of the Fusion platform APUs which have been something of a design win success for AMD of late.

Intel also unveiled a third chip in the series called the Atom D2700, carrying the same ‘D’ branding as the so-called nettop-spec parts. In this case it seems the only difference between the N2800 and the D2700 is a CPU speed bump up to 2.1GHz. So the D means it’s faster, despite the lower number, got it? No, neither have we.

With the netbook market having been in something of a free-fall over the last year, and with most eyes turning to the higher end thin, light and much much faster ultrabooks, it remains to be seen if the new Atom chips will do much to revive the market.

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