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Report: Atom to be 62% Cheap PC Sales by Q4 '09

As much as we love the Intel Atom processor, the thought of it powering a significant portion of desktops is one that goes against our instincts of bigger, stronger, faster.

When it comes to computers, the trend is always headed straight towards making things faster and power capable. But now the low-cost, low-power (in both senses of the word) Intel Atom processor could end up in more than half of entry-level desktop sales at the end of the year.

Normally a segment reserved for Celerons and Pentiums, Intel could be adjusting its entry-level CPU shipment plans of single-core Atom 230 and dual-core Atom 330 CPUs increasing from 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in the first quarter, to 10 percent and 52 percent by the fourth quarter of 2009, according to Digitimes’ "industry sources" in Taiwan.

Furthermore, the report says that the Celeron E1000-series and the Celeron 200-series processors will drop to less than a fifth of the shipment makeup by the fourth quarter this year.

While the proliferation of Atom-powered machines on the desktop will likely bring down the average computational power of budget-oriented PCs sold this year, falling with it will be prices. Given the current economic climate and increased consumer price sensitivity, OEMs see the Atom as a simple solution for low-cost offerings.

For many casual computer users, the Atom is perfectly adequate for web browsing, emailing, even watching online videos. But without additional acceleration (such as the Nvidia Ion), the Atom isn’t able to decode high-definition video, possibly reducing the usable lifespan of nettops and cheap desktops shipped later this year.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • jerreece
    "Atom to be 62% Cheap..."
    So, are you saying the Atom will become 62% cheapER? Or that the processor itself is simply 62% cheap, and 38% quality?

    Or that the Atom will make up 62% of cheap PC sales by Q4 2009?

    Normally a segment reserved for Celerons and Pentiums, Intel could be adjusting its entry-level CPU shipment plans of single-core Atom 230 and dual-core Atom 330 CPUs increasing from 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in the first quarter, to 10 percent and 52 percent by the fourth quarter of 2009, according to Digitimes’ "industry sources" in Taiwan.

    Good Lord that's a long sentence. But I presume from that sentence that you intended to mean the Intel Atom CPU would make up 62% of cheap PC sales by Q4 of 2009.

    Interesting news I suppose. Just means folks with "cheap PCs" will have even less gaming ability than they have now with their Pentium & Celeron chips. Talk about "Internet/Email Only" PCs...
    Reply
  • pharge
    Just saw this on Engadget (http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/17/asus-eeebox-pc-b208-with-dual-core-atom-and-hd-4350-graphics-un/):
    "ASUS EeeBox PC B208 with dual-core Atom and HD 4350 graphics un-announced... The B208 trumps ASUS' B206 by slapping a dual-core, 1.6GHz Atom 330 processor into the slim, monitor-riding slab as well as 256MB of ATI Radeon Hd 4350 graphics. ".

    Intel Dual core Atom + ATI HD4350... very interesting combination, isn't it? ;)
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    Wouldn't a better title would be "Report: Atom to take 62% of budget marketshare by Q4 '09"?
    Reply
  • fuser
    The Atom makes sense for the netbook market, but I really doubt it will become so popular in the desktop segment. How much cheaper is the Atom 330 than a Celeron chip? $10? I think Dell, HP and others will end up with a customer service nightmare if they start pushing these processors on the desktop.
    Reply
  • joex444
    TindytimWouldn't a better title would be "Report: Atom to take 62% of budget marketshare by Q4 '09"?
    Yeah, or even just tossing an "of" between the "62%" and "Cheap".
    Reply
  • pharge
    fuserThe Atom makes sense for the netbook market, but I really doubt it will become so popular in the desktop segment. How much cheaper is the Atom 330 than a Celeron chip? $10? I think Dell, HP and others will end up with a customer service nightmare if they start pushing these processors on the desktop.
    Good point.
    I am wondering is there other combination which can make an equally cool (low power, low nose), small in size, ok proformance, and still cheap nettop beside using Atom?

    By the way, how fast a Celeron is compairing w/ Atom 330? What are their power requirement different?
    Reply
  • JimmiG
    Small, stylish, power efficient PCs that everyone can afford and that are fast enough for what 95% of users need? Sounds good to me.
    Don't worry, there will still be $999 "Extreme" CPUs and $599 "Ultra GTX GTS+ HD X5999" videocards for those who want them. Indeed, if the PC itself, as an appliance, gets cheaper thanks to "nettops", chances are this will also deflate the prices of high-end parts somewhat. It will be harder to ask for $2900 for a system when that $225 nettop is good enough for most users.
    Reply
  • mrubermonkey
    Why have thin clients not really caught on?
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    Meh. This news makes no difference to most users of this site anyway - we won't settle for a weak computer for a main system.

    I have to wonder why Intel is still offering the Celeron though. It's significantly weaker than even Pentium Dual-Core, consumes too much power to be in a tiny system, and costs more than Atom. I don't see the rationale for keeping the Celeron.
    Reply
  • Which means that when AMD Yukon comes out, they will eventually follow suit with a low-cost desktop that stomps atom into the ground in every category. The "full computing experience" is kind of expected on a desktop, netbooks are a different story.
    Reply