updated 12:40 pm EST, Fri February 6, 2009
Intel Atom N280 ships
Intel has begun shipping a enhanced version of its ultra-compact Atom processor, according to an announcement. The N280 is technically a single-core processor, but is being paired with a GN40 chipset, whose notebook-level GMA4000 graphics help to decode HD video at resolutions up to 720p. HD typically places a high burden on miniature processors, which are often saddled with low clock speeds and inadequate graphics hardware.
The core of the N280 is clocked at 1.66GHz, only marginally faster than the 1.6GHz N270, but the former is also matched with a faster, 667MHz front-side bus. The GN40 remains the most notable difference, as it is believed to be off-roadmap for Intel, and in its N280 combination a response to NVIDIA's Ion platform. Ion links an Atom chip with NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M graphics technology, which is not only capable of handling 1080p video but demanding gaming tasks.
The N280 is presently slated to run ASUS' Eee PC 1000HE netbook, which should ship at an unknown date for approximately $399. The system may require special cooling however, as use of the GN40 is said to push power consumption up from 8W to 16.5W.