Intel is preparing a 22nm Valley View Atom chip with Ivy Bridge-class on board graphics, according to leaked slides detailing the company's plans. The CPU is codenamed Valley View and it'll be part of the Balboa Pier platform launching in early 2013 as a follow-up to the Cedar Trail platform found in current netbooks.
The slides describe a possible fan-less system with up to four cores, which will reportedly offer similar performance levels and capabilities as current Cedar View cores. The new Atom chip will also support up to 8GB of RAM, USB 3.0, and up to four times the graphical performance compared to current PowerVR-equipped Atoms, with support for two DisplayPort outputs as well as one HDMI.
Ivy Bridge is expected to bring as much as a 40% performance gain in graphics performance over Sandy Bridge, so that boost will be even more noticeable in the low power Atom chip space. Although the netbook market is not as hot as it was 2-3 years ago, with most of the attention now going to tablets and so-called "Ultrabooks", it's good to see Intel finally bringing decent graphics to the small and affordable form factor. Besides netbooks, the new Atoms could be great for media centers and light-duty desktop PCs.