Monday, November 10th 2008

Acer Considering non-Atom Options for Upcoming Nettops

The Intel Atom processor saw the company create a new niche, that of netbooks (sub-notebooks) and nettops. It has become the de-facto choice of OEM builders who are themselves teething in this new market. Intel Atom finds direct competition in VIA Nano, which offers the same x86 embedded options, at nearly the same thermal footprints, although AMD has some catching up to do in this segment.

Industry observer, DigiTimes, notes that Acer could be eying non-Atom options for its upcoming nettop SKUs. These products could feature VIA Nano, or AMD Athlon low-power processors. The company is basing it on the issue, that it plans to sell around 12~13 million nettop units, and given the situation, sourcing all the processors from Intel doesn't seem feasible. The silicon giant is already dealing with massive back-orders, backlog and stock shortages for the amount of demand the Atom has created. Acer also has three OEM sources in mind to make the nettop: Quanta Computer, Wistron and Micro-Star International (MSI). The company is expected to reach a decision in December.Source: DigiTimes
Add your own comment

10 Comments on Acer Considering non-Atom Options for Upcoming Nettops

#1
BvB123
by: btarunr
The company is basing it on the issue, that it plans to sell around 12~13 nettop units, and given the situation, sourcing all the processors from Intel doesn't seem feasible.

Source: DigiTimes
12~13 million nettop units
Posted on Reply
#2
Mussels
Moderprator
rofl, 12 nettops.

Good thing they're not going ATOM, cause they're slow as shit... you know its a problem when you're out-performed by Via.
Posted on Reply
#3
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
I wouldnt say they are slow as shit. That one Acer Onebook I checked out at Walmart was pretty zippy.
Posted on Reply
#4
Error 404
Atoms are a nice concept, but as Intel's roadmap shows no improvement until Q3 2009 for the mobile chipset+CPU offering, I would not like to see netbooks stick with Atom CPUs: the chipset is awful and has a higher TDP than the CPU itself!
A Via Nano has a much cooler chipset, runs faster, and (IIRC) can play Crysis when paired with an 8600 GT.
A dual core AMD offering would be nice as well, as Hyperthreading just doesn't cut it.
Its good to see Asus branching out though, hopefully we'll see cheaper Asus EEEs or Acer Aspires soon as well.
Posted on Reply
#5
ktr
nah, the 945gse has a TDP of 6w, and that is including a IGP. (atom @ 4w)...total is around 11~12ish

VIA Nano alone at 1.8ghz has a TDP of 25w. The CN896 chipset TDP is (what I can find) 4w.

I know there is cut down Nano @ 1ghz that has a TDP of 5w.
Posted on Reply
#6
wickerman
the mobile 945GSE has a TDP of 6w, and then the ICH7 SB has a TDP of 3.3w, and then the atom 230 (1.6ghz single core) on top of that is another 4w. The Atom 330 (1.6ghz dual core) is 8w. So total platform is 13.3w-17.3w.

The Via Nano varies by model (as does atom), topping out at a 2ghz/25w TDP. This model may not make it into any mobile products and instead could be the "nettop" processor. The 1.8ghz L2100 Nano has a ~20w TDP. There is also a 1.6ghz model with a 17w TDP. The ultra low voltage versions (U series) are what you would likely see against the Atom processors, and start with the U2300 at 1ghz, with a 5w TDP. The ULV nanos top out with the U2400 described as "1.3ghz+" (rumored to be 1.5-1.6) with a 8w TDP. Early samples of the nano platforms were using the CN896+VT8251, but you may see the VX800 used instead as its a simple chip solution with a 5w TDP and superior feature set. The VX800 was designed for the Nano processors, while the CN896 was an evolution for the C7. Both are compatible with one another, but its likely you'll see the VX800 as its already appearing on C7 platforms. So you could have a U2300 paired with the VX800 single chip solution, and have a 10w platform.

Using the VX800 would give the Nano an edge as it would offer superior features to 945GSE (GBE, HD audio, media decoding), native LVDS, as well as better graphics performance...but lets face it GMA950 is about as slow as it gets these days

Nano is going to be a good step up from C7 in performance and I cant wait to get my hands on one. But it will be higher power consumption than Atom...but thats a given as Intel sacrificed performance and simplified its architecture to gain that low power envelope, and then they turned to their latest 45nm manufacturing technology. VIA on the other hand is only now making the transition to 65nm, C7s were built in IBMs 90nm SOI technology, but Nano is a super scalar design, using out of order issue/execution, and besides that it is pin compatible with C7, so really just about any existing C7 platform could be upgraded with a drop in Nano, giving them faster turn around to get their nettops and netbooks to market.

Performance wise though, I think AMD would still come out on top with their embedded Athlon and Athlon X2 models (8-35w TDP) paired with the 780E chipset. 780E + SB750 would offer by far, the best feature sets as well as the HD 3200 IGP would actually be up to the task of gaming! The Raon Digital Everun Note is a great example of what the AMD alternative can look like. Thought that is not using the latest embedded AMD processors and is paired with the 690E, but it is a 7" laptop that is portable (thicker than Atom based units) and offers great performance.
Posted on Reply
#7
Mussels
Moderprator
I have no links, but if you compare the performance, the Via chip is way out on top. 10W or 20W, in the end its a minimal difference to a user - the via being 720P media playback capable compared to the atom not being capable, thats a *big* difference.
Posted on Reply
#8
Baum
atom is slow like my p3 500Mhz, the nettops are snappy because of their "special" win xp or light linux
don't buy them for "some" office task's as productivity will be bad :roll:
Posted on Reply
#9
Bytor
A little off your topic...

I have been looking at a Netbook to replace my old/heavy Sony Vaio laptop. Can they run a lot if not all the apps a normal laptop can?

Mainly would use it for internet and GPS while traveling (via MS streets and trips)

Thanks
Posted on Reply
#10
ktr
by: Bytor
A little off your topic...

I have been looking at a Netbook to replace my old/heavy Sony Vaio laptop. Can they run a lot if not all the apps a normal laptop can?

Mainly would use it for internet and GPS while traveling (via MS streets and trips)

Thanks
what is your budget?
Posted on Reply