Intel has formally introduced a new Atom processor designed to power the next generation of netbooks. Codenamed Pineview, the upcoming processor incorporates a memory controller and graphics core on the same piece of silicon. Together with the new Tiger Point I/O controller it will form the basis for the next-generation Atom platform, dubbed Pine Trail, which is scheduled to debut in the fourth quarter.
Essentially, what all this integration means is that Pine View will shrink the number of chips in the Atom platform from three to just two. The reduced number of chips should result in a cheaper platform, for computer makers at least, and lower power consumption. This could translate to improved battery life; or alternately, Intel could choose to clock the new Pineview CPUs higher and keep the overall platform within the same power envelope.
Of course the integration of a graphics component onto Atom chips is not something that will make Nvidia too happy, but according to Intel, Pine Trail can still be integrated with the firm’s Ion graphics for netbooks. This will come at a considerably higher cost, though, which will likely intensify complaints about Intel’s allegedly unfair pricing schemes – $45 for the processor alone but just $25 for the entire three-chip Atom platform.