Asus, as I have often remarked, is the company that is solely responsible for starting the whole netbook trend. The form factor was already there but not very popular or wanted. Now it seems like the company is again on the verge of starting something new — including the latest tech in netbooks. Asus recently released the Eee PC 1015PEM that houses multiple cutting edge features.
The 1015PEM has USB 3.0 ports, which are quite the rarity right now because of how new the standard is. It is usually available only in high-end laptops and portables. Besides, there are talks of it being rendered obsolete by Light Peak — something that jointly developed by Apple and Intel.
It also has Bluetooth 3.0, which is again another first in the netbook category in all likelihood. There are hardly enough mobile devices out that have this standard. As can be deciphered from the version number, this is an upgrade on good ol’ Bluetooth for more speed and better connectivity.
Rounding off the whole thing nicely is the latest Intel Atom processor powering the whole machine. This new chip is the first dual-core Atom that is meant for portables. The previous dual-cores were meant for low-power desktops and nettops. Although some netbook models did experiment with it, this new chip is the first one that has been designed to be used in a portable.
The new chip fuses two cores on the same piece of silicon along with a GPU. This makes the overall communication faster by cutting out the bus communication paths between the CPUs and the GPU. The single die approach also ensures that there is no noticeable increase in power consumption even with the increased speed.
Looks like Asus has quite the netbook on their hands right now. But this is just the initial stage before this becomes the standard configuration and that will happen fast.
Asus is one of the many companies who are getting ready to upgrade their netbook line with the new Atom N550 dual core chip. But they are also a company who seem to be having some trouble keeping a lid on it. So both today and yesterday, details about their new dual core netbook have leaked on the internet. They are going to bring out their first Atom N550 netbook in the form of the Eee PC 1015PE.
The Eee PC 1015PE will be the first netbook from Asus to have the Atom N550 and will also have certain other extras that will push it in to the next generation of netbooks. According to details fished out of the official product page that accidentally went online for a brief few hours, the 1015PE will support DDR3 memory, thus having a much better performance rate.
Also new would be support for both Bluetooth 3.0 and USB 3.0 standards. The Atom N550 will be in the form of a 1.5GHz dual core processor. It will come with three options for the battery — 48Whr, 56Whr, and 63Whr — which will provide for 10, 11 and 13 hours of battery life respectively. At least that is what Asus claims the performance would be like.
Other than these features, everything else seems to be pretty standard with the netbook. It will have a 10inch display with a native resolution of 1024 x 600. Even with DDR3 onboard, it will have only 1GB of memory and will run Windows 7 Starter Edition at purchase.
The Atom N550 is not the first dual core processor in this line but the last one was not meant for portables due to the amount of power it consumed. This new model is deemed fit for netbook use and said to be high performance while still only sipping from the battery reserve.
Acer is not cutting its main netbook competitor any slack and is going to release its own dual-core Atom netbook soon. This development comes from newly leaked development details from deep inside Acer. The new model is going to be called D255 and it is going to go on a head to head collision course with Asus’ Eee PC 1215N.
The Eee PC 1215N is a fairly new model from Asus and it is their first to sport the new dual-core Atom N550 chip. Atom of course, already had a dual-c0re chip before this — the N330. But that was not meant for use in portables, for power consumption issues of course. Intel has been hard at work developing a chip that will work well for netbooks and still be able to run twin cores simultaneously. The Atom N550 has two chips running at 1.5GHz each and thus gives the whole system a significant power boost.
The difference will especially show in multi-tasking performance, which is a processor oriented job. However, other than the processor details, little else is known about this forthcoming Acer netbook model. It is believed that the D255 will actually resemble the D260 in terms of the other hardware features and looks. The D255 is expected to have different color options and perhaps a chrome trim. So nothing out of the ordinary is to be expected from this release.
There’s one thing that might differentiate the two competing models from Acer and Asus respectively, quite distinct from each other. Whilst Asus’ model uses the NVIDIA ION 2 graphics to deliver superior graphics and 3D performance, Acer’s model might be paried with an ordinary Intel onboard graphics. But less graphics performance also means longer battery life and vice versa. So it might be a close one after all.
We know now that the dual-core Atom is finally going to make its way to netbooks. The dual-core Atom chips that we have now are basically targeted at the desktop/nettop area. Even though we have a few portable models sporting them, they are not known for battery life efficiency. So now, Intel [NASDAQ:INTC] is going to release a new dual-core Atom that will bump up the processing speed of our beloved netbooks and still keep them running for a sizeable amount of time.
But this joyous news was tainted some time back, when reports of Intel maintaining its restrictions over the netbook screen sizes surfaced. If it were to happen, manufacturers would not be able to use the new dual-core Atom chip in netbooks that had a screen size of more than 10 inches. But that claim was always conflicted because there were already talks of the Asus Eee PC 1215N getting this upgrade and that model has a 12 inch screen.
Now, another claim is surfacing that states Intel will be pulling this restriction upon release of the said chip. This would finally enable manufacturers to make dual-core Atom netbooks that have screens sizes like 11 and 12 inches. We are of course not expecting to see 15 inch screens on Atom devices but 12 inch options are always nice to have.
It seems like as Intel continues to innovate on the Atom front, it is beginning to lift some of the restrictions that have held manufacturers from getting more creative with their offerings. Intel’s restrictions have actually kept the netbook market in a sort of forced conformity that made a lot of the mainstream netbooks look very similar. Some are only distinguishable by their branding and built quality because the internals are the same.
However, those things are about to change it seems and the predictions of the netbook really taking over this year might come true after all.