Intel's Atom CPU powers the vast majority of netbooks, but the successor to the current line up has been the subject of speculation, with Intel having to reaffirm that the new chip will indeed be released this year
The new CPU - codenamed Pineview, accompanying the Tiger Point IO hub, to comprise the Pine Trail platform - is most notable for the fact it features graphics integrated into the processor. It also moves the memory controller into the CPU, as we've seen in Core i7 desktop CPUs. The advantages of this level of integration for netbooks are obvious; using two chips instead of three cuts down on cost, power usage and of course, the physical size of the system.
Pine Trail looks ideal for allowing laptop companies to evolve their netbook designs, and according to Taiwanese tech industry news site DigiTimes, it's MSI who will be first with a netbook based on the new chips. Digitimes quotes "industry sources"
in its article, and goes on to say that: "MSI intends to beat global vendors by launching the new platform ahead of schedule and to avoid having to immediately compete on price... MSI's new netbooks are expected to adopt Windows 7 operating system and features touch screen capability."
There's been little said by Intel about how powerful Pine Trail's graphics will be, so while Nvidia won't be worried in terms of power, it's another clear indication that Ion
will continue to face a very tough battle
Let us know your thoughts in the forums
- is Pine Trail eagerly all that awaited? And most importantly, can it run Crysis?
Read more on netbooks with our laptop reviews
, and our look at the Ion platform