The Intel Atom N280 is expected to make its first appearance in the Asus Eee PC 1000HE. However other netbooks boasting the updated part, coupled with the HD-capable (720p video playback) GN40 chipset, are likely to arrive soon thereafter as Intel has now confirmed it has begun shipping the successor to its almost ubiquitous N270 low power processor to PC makers.

On the processing front, the still single core N280 isn’t much of an improvement over its older sibling, bumping up the speed to only 1.66GHz from 1.6GHz, but the increased front-side bus speed from 533MHz to 667MHz and improved graphics chipset will hopefully make this a worthy upgrade. Interestingly, the Atom N280 was initially slated for a Q2 release. Could its rush to market be a preemptive strike against Nvidia’s Ion platform? After all, the latter is expected to offer support for DirectX 10 gaming, Nvidia-exclusive technologies like CUDA and PhysX and even 1080p video playback.