Look at any netbook on the market today, and you’ll see that the specifications for each one even across different OEMs are remarkably the same.
In fact, one key differentiator between both notebooks and desktops is processor speed, but for netbooks it’s virtually homogenous – it’s almost always the Intel Atom running at 1.6 GHz.
While seeing a system with an Intel chip is commonplace, seeing it running at the same frequency across the board is unusual. That phenomenon, however, could be explained after taking a look at the official Intel processor price list (PDF).
As pointed out by Fudzilla, the Atom Z530 1.6 GHz chip currently sells for $65, while the Z540 1.86 GHz is a huge leap away at $130. At double the price, it’s no mystery why OEMs are selecting the more sensible option for their sub-$400 netbooks. Some system makers choose to drop it down to 1.3 GHz for the $40 price tag.
The very popular Atom N270 sells for $44, but what’s interesting is that the dual-core 330 goes for less at $43.
At any rate, this should answer some of the questions why we’re all sitting with 1.6 GHz Atom chips. At least some netbook models give the option to overclock to 1.8 GHz levels!