updated 09:30 pm EDT, Thu May 1, 2008
Intel ramps Atom chips
On the heels of publicized supply shortages, Intel says it is ramping up prerelease production of its Atom mobile processors, which are designed for smaller notebooks (and ultra compact desktops). Code-named Diamondville, Intel's 45-nanometer chip won't be officially released until June, but reports are indicating that the company is filling less than 40 percent of requests for the new chip; however, the company says it is trying to cope with the demand. Company spokesman Bill Calder told Computerworld that several PC makers plan to announce in June that they're working on Diamondville-based products, but those products are not expected until the third or fourth quarters and some manufacturers such as ASUS have forsaken the Atom chip to be first to market with new micro-notebooks.
HP has also decided to use non-Atom processors for the initial introduction of its micro notebooks; the HP Mini-Note currently uses a Via processor to meet its power needs without waiting on the Intel chip.
"We had anticipated a certain amount of growth and ramp up," Calder told Computerworld. "It's better than anticipated. We're adjusting and increasing output. We are meeting and will meet anticipated demand."
Even Apple is rumored to working on ultra-portable mobile computing (UPMC) devices based around the new mobile chip that bridges the gap between strictly mobile processors such as the ARM chip in the iPhone and standard notebook processors.
Calder claims that Intel will not have trouble increasing the production of the chips to meet the unanticipated demand, noting that due to the size of the chips -- 2,500 can fit on a single wafer -- a small boost in wafer production would dramatically affect the number of Atom processors produced, he told the publication.
Meanwhile, AMD earlier this week touted its own next-generation Puma laptop platform, which is also scheduled to launch in June. The launch of the new platform, aimed more tat traditional notebooks, will feature twice as many designs as the launch of its last mobile platform, highlighting the platform's greater power efficiency, improved graphics, and AMD's upcoming Turion X2 Ultra "Griffin" processor.