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Intel Shipping Upgraded Atom, HD Video Chipset

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments

Intel is now shipping the N280 version of its popular Atom processor to OEMs for use in netbooks.

While the N280 doesn’t differ from the N270 in clock speed, with both running at 1.6 GHz, the newer chip benefits from being paired with the new GN40, which brings with it HD video acceleration.

As handy as netbooks have proven to be at casual web browsing and even the odd video, it does trip up when it comes to the more intensive multimedia features. The GN40 chipset adds hardware help for playback of 720p video, making the Atom N280 set probably a better companion now than a portable DVD player (particularly if you have high-def video encodes).

The Atom N280 itself has a lower thermal design power at 2 W compared to the N270 at 2.5 W, but with the beefier chipset, the N280 and GN40 TDP jumps to 16.5 W. The N270 with the N945GSE has a TDP of 11.8 W.

Of course, the upgraded N280 with the GN40, while better with videos, doesn’t really measure up to what Nvidia brings to the table with the Ion chipset. We took a look at the Nvidia Ion paired with the Atom in more of a nettop form, but such a chipset would be mighty impressive in a netbook.

For now, however, the Atom N280 and GN40 is the only available option for 720p video from a netbook -- and it’s not bad if you can get several movies' worth out of it from the Asus Eee 1000HE.

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  • 0 Hide
    kawininjazx , February 9, 2009 2:01 PM
    Is a 1024 X 700 screen HD? They have the power to run 720P, but isn't that like 1280 X 720? I don't think I've seen one of those netbooks with a screen resolution that high.
  • 1 Hide
    bone squat , February 9, 2009 2:20 PM
    Yeah Kaw, you're right. I was in bestbuy yesterday, the native resolution of those tiny PCs is 1024x700 and 720p is 1280x720. They just compress the image down to native so you will lose quality. I don't understand the point in buying this stupid netbooks. If they were small enough to fit in a pocket then they'd be cool, but they aren't that small so to me they're no more inconvenient than a 15.4" laptop (which is generally more feature rich, fast, higher res, etc for a small increase in price). Get a normal functional laptop people. These netbooks are a joke.
  • 0 Hide
    AndrewMD , February 9, 2009 2:57 PM
    Your missing the point that a 15.4 laptop typically weighs in around 4-9 pounds depending on the features selected. Most netbooks can run Divx files fine (at least the few I have tested).

    I like the advantage of taking just what I need to a client site with the extra bulk.

  • Display all 14 comments.
  • 4 Hide
    FrustratedRhino , February 9, 2009 3:40 PM
    Do you not bother to research your stories? "While the N280 doesn’t differ from the N270 in clock speed, with both running at 1.6 GHz"
    n280 runs as 1.667Ghz and has a FSB of 667 rather than the 533 of the n270. Please reasearch facts before posting next time please.
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , February 9, 2009 3:44 PM
    It's probably useful for driving another display, like a TV, projector, or external monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , February 9, 2009 3:54 PM
    The Dell Mini 9 starts at 2.3 pounds and the Mini 12 starts at 2.7 pounds.

    The XPS M1330 starts at 3.97 pounds.

    I'll take the XPS every day of the week and twice on Sundays. If you can't handle carrying around 4 pounds (but CAN handle 2.5) you have some serious problems.

  • 0 Hide
    Linux4geeks , February 9, 2009 6:39 PM
    FrustratedRhinoDo you not bother to research your stories? "While the N280 doesn’t differ from the N270 in clock speed, with both running at 1.6 GHz"n280 runs as 1.667Ghz and has a FSB of 667 rather than the 533 of the n270. Please reasearch facts before posting next time please.

    :p  Exactly! There ARE some differences, even though they aren't much.. I'm looking into getting a N280 netbook sometime soon, been waiting on the 1000HE.
  • 0 Hide
    Linux4geeks , February 9, 2009 6:40 PM
    FrustratedRhinoDo you not bother to research your stories? "While the N280 doesn’t differ from the N270 in clock speed, with both running at 1.6 GHz"n280 runs as 1.667Ghz and has a FSB of 667 rather than the 533 of the n270. Please reasearch facts before posting next time please.

    +1 ^^
  • 0 Hide
    Linux4geeks , February 9, 2009 7:23 PM
    I hear the eee PC 1000HE is not going to come with the GN40 though. Thats too bad! :( 
  • 0 Hide
    Linux4geeks , February 9, 2009 10:46 PM
    taybThe Dell Mini 9 starts at 2.3 pounds and the Mini 12 starts at 2.7 pounds. The XPS M1330 starts at 3.97 pounds. I'll take the XPS every day of the week and twice on Sundays. If you can't handle carrying around 4 pounds (but CAN handle 2.5) you have some serious problems.

    The point of getting a netbook IMO is for the sub-$500 price tag, its tiny and cute, and the battery life. The XPS is defenately not cheap! Yes, I agree with you, the weight of a normal 15" laptop isn't bad.
  • 0 Hide
    smalltime0 , February 9, 2009 11:02 PM
    Linux4geeksI hear the eee PC 1000HE is not going to come with the GN40 though. Thats too bad!

    They should never append HE to anything, as I just read it as High-Explosive...

    the weight difference is a bit of a concern in these netbooks...
  • 0 Hide
    Linux4geeks , February 9, 2009 11:34 PM
    kawininjazxIs a 1024 X 700 screen HD? They have the power to run 720P, but isn't that like 1280 X 720? I don't think I've seen one of those netbooks with a screen resolution that high.

    No, its not. The Dell Mini 10 announced that it'll have two resolution options though, one is slightly more than 720P, so it'll have the option!
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , February 10, 2009 6:07 AM
    LOL Intel didnt hear our crys saying "new chipset with lower TDP" etc - what do they give us? a nearly 50% hotter chipset? with a sort of new feature we really didnt care for considering most dont use there netbook to play HD movies etc (and most not even capable of storing files that big or no drive to play them anyhow) etc.

    Quote:
    The Atom N280 itself has a lower thermal design power at 2 W compared to the N270 at 2.5 W, but with the beefier chipset, the N280 and GN40 TDP jumps to 16.5 W. The N270 with the N945GSE has a TDP of 11.8 W.
  • 0 Hide
    Tindytim , February 16, 2009 2:59 AM
    I'm more interested if this N280 will work with the ION platform.