Intel Shipping Upgraded Atom, HD Video Chipset

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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  • kawininjazx
    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.
  • bone squat
    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.
  • AndrewMD
    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.