Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Atom 330: The future of Green PC's.

My Asus Eee PC 901 is the first Intel-based system that I've ever owned (all others were AMD-based). As I've mentioned before on this blog, I'm more that pleased with the amount of punch the 901 packs with such a tiny carbon footprint. By that I mean that it sips electricity instead of gulping it like other larger notebooks. The 901 is powered by the Atom N270, the most common chip in netbooks today. What this chip can accomplish with 4W of power is staggering. Even though the N270 netbooks use the crappy GMA 950 graphics chipset and slow hard drives or solid state drives (upgradable), I'm still digging them.

Sometime this year, the netbooks and nettops of the world will be transitioning from the N270 to the Atom 330 (8W power consumption), which is, for all intents and purposes, a dual core N270. This means that low-power, or green, systems will be on par with some desktops with regard to overall throughput. While this is rather rad in and of itself, many vendors like Asus and Dell plan on combining the 330 with a discreet graphics chipset like the new Nvidia Ion or the ATI HD 3000 or 4000 series. Oh my. That means that we can have green PC's with twice the CPU power and 10 TIMES the graphics muscle, AKA full 1080P video decoding, AND 10 TIMES less power consumption than a full size desktop, at a miniscule price? Wow. It's gonna be a good summer.

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