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First, NVIDIA had a tussle with Intel over the Atom chipset, now HP is in discussion with Intel to bring the Atom to their larger 15 inch laptops. What is going on here?

First off, Intel is insistent that Atom be sold only as a bundle together with their own chipset, the 945. This has irked NVIDIA who is working on the MCP79 chipset which would come with an integrated Geforce graphics chip, a vast improvement over the sad graphics chip in the 945. However, Intel refused to sell the Atom chips alone, which made NVIDIA, and many consumers out there, quite angry.

Intel Atom

Now, they have done a 180 and is now in talks with HP to bring Atom to HP’s bigger laptops. Now, the Atom isn’t really powerful. Benchmarks have shown that these processors, even though running at 1.6 GHz, lose out to a mere Celeron 900MHz. Furthermore, the power consumption advantages of a smaller more power efficient chip such as the Atom is offset by the fact that the 945 which it comes bundled with is old technology, designed for the last generation of processors with no such thought to power frugality. As a result, the power savings are minimal at best.

Furthermore, it has also been demonstrated that the old Athlon 64 underclocked to 1GHz would not only beat the Atom, but also run at lower power consumption! Hence, it is a real mystery why AMD hasn’t already come out with an Atom-killer. Too busy trying to fix their mainstream chips, I suppose.

And the sad news is, pretty soon you will be able to see these Atom chips everywhere, and it might just turn out to be Intel’s most successful failures ever.

Anything you want to add?