Intel Ships 1.66GHz Atom N280 Processor

Intel may be placing its quad-core Itanium server chip back in the oven, but it's having no issues whatsoever shipping the latest iteration of its white-hot Atom CPU. The Intel Atom N280, which should arrive in ASUS' Eee PC 1000HE before any other mainstream machine, is now making its way to PC makers across the globe. Reportedly, the processor will improve performance and graphics capabilities in the nettops and netbooks that it meanders into.

The single-core chip can be paired up with a GN40 chipset that enables users to watch 720p high-definition video, which is a feat that many thought would be impossible on the low-cost laptops of the world. Company spokesman Bill Calder even asserted that the "capability to decode HD video should allow netbooks to better handle streaming video content." For those wondering, prior Atoms such as the N270 did not include hardware-based HD video decoders, making the newfangled N280 a must-have for those intent on watching material in the best possible quality.

The actual speed increase over the N270 (1.6GHz) is marginal; the N280 checks in at just 1.66GHz, though it does offer a quicker front-side bus (667MHz) while still only drawing around 2.5 watts of energy. Sadly, Intel failed to disclose what it was charging for the freshest Atom on the block, and as enthused as we are about the HD possibilities, we're already anxious to see a dual-core version hit the streets. Greedy, we know.

Tags:  Intel, Atom, CPU, N280