With a series of Atom announcements here at Computex, Intel showed it has big plans for its littlest processor including dual-core Atoms for netbooks and Oak Trail for tablets.
Laptops & Desktops
John Morris and Sean Portnoy deliver straight talk about notebook and desktop computers.
John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine.
Sean Portnoy is a former executive editor at Computer Shopper magazine and editor at CNET Networks.
This year's installment of Computex is getting off to fast start when it comes to tablet PCs that hope to compete with the iPad. While most top-tier computer companies haven't provided details on devices that can go head-to-head with Apple's tablet, two of the major Asian brands have unveiled their challengers at the Taiwanese expo.
It was only about two weeks ago that Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that the rumors of its Larrabee graphics chips' demise were greatly exaggerated. Late last year the company said that it was yanking its hardware project and concentrating on Larrabee as a software platform, but Otellini suggested that details about the project were being rushed out to the public and basically we should stay tuned.
Nvidia has announced its first DirectX 11 GPU for laptops. The GeForce GTX 480M, which Nvidia claims is the world's fastest mobile GPU, will be available in laptops starting in June.
Intel has already made news today with details of its new processors for ultrathin laptops and the promise of tablet-focused CPUs to be announced next week. But some other Intel CPU news has also leaked that will interest power users.
Intel announced a broader line of processors for ultra-thin laptops, a category that has gotten off to a slow start, but is now expected to grow quickly. A separate family of processors specifically for tablets will be announced at Computex next week.
There have been no shortage of attempts to give laptop graphics some added pop by connecting an external solution with a desktop board. Most recently, Shuttle and Gigabyte displayed new options at CeBIT in March, and now MSI is getting into the act with the prosaically named Graphics Upgrade Solution.
While being pricier per gigabyte of storage than hard drives, solid state drives are increasing in popularity thanks to superior performance, including the ability to boot your OS significantly faster. So what if you can weld together the speed of an SSD with the bigger capacity (and much lower price) of a hard drive?
Netbooks may not be the hot product they were in their 2009 heyday, but there's apparently still new life to be squeezed from the little laptops. Fudzilla is reporting that Intel is readying dual-core Atom processorsAtom, of course, being the CPU that's powered most netbooks to datethat will be shipping in systems come the third quarter of 2010.
For all of its success, one thing Intel could never master was the standalone graphics card, eventually ceding the market to Nvidia and ATI/AMD. That was supposed to change with the company's Larrabee project, which was designed to produce 3D graphics chips that could compete with the GeForces and Radeons of the world.