Intel reveals Atom N2X00 series details ahead of launch

There isn't much left in terms of secrets when it comes to Intel's upcoming N2X00-series of mobile Atom processors, but what we didn't already know, Intel has now managed to unveil itself thanks to a datasheet that the company published ahead of the CPU launch. It's a simple mistake, as the same datasheet covers the Atom D2X00-series and although the two CPU families are very similar, there are some differences beyond the mobile and desktop aspects.

There isn't much left in terms of secrets when it comes to Intel's upcoming N2X00-series of mobile Atom processors, but what we didn't already know, Intel has now managed to unveil itself thanks to a datasheet that the company published ahead of the CPU launch. It's a simple mistake, as the same datasheet covers the Atom D2X00-series and although the two CPU families are very similar, there are some differences beyond the mobile and desktop aspects.

For starters we'd missed he fact that the Atom N2600 only supports 2GB of RAM, whereas the N2800 happily accepts 4GB, just like its desktop counterparts. On top of that the N2600 only supports a single DIMM while the other three Atom models happily take two. We're not sure why Intel has come up with this backwards solution, but it really looks like just yet another artificial limitation that is likely to upset consumers.

We've also got full details with regards to the graphics resolutions that are supported as well as confirmation of the clock speeds. The N2800 (and D2700) has the GPU clocked at 640MHz while the N2600 (and D2500) gets to make do with a 400MHz GPU clock, although the render clock is running at a slower 200MHz for all models.

All four CPUs support eDP/DisplayPort, HDMI 1.3a, LDVS (single channel) and D-sub/analogue display connectivity. However, when it comes to supported resolutions things get complicated. For the case of simplicity we've included the table provided by Intel, but it's very clear that the mobile versions are artificially held back when it comes to the display resolution of the netbook/notebook, although considering most notebook displays have a resolution of 1366×768 from 11.6 to 15.6-inches, this isn't a huge issue. What is strange though is the DisplayPort limitation for external displays for the N-series CPUs and you're better off using HDMI in this case. Note that only two displays can be used simultaneously.

atom resolution Intel reveals Atom N2X00 series details ahead of launch

One of the most important aspects of the new Atom processors is hardware video decode support and Intel has implemented support for MPEG2, WMV, H.264 and VC-1 at either 720p60m 1080i60 or 1080p24 for videos encoded at up to 20Mbps. Sadly there's no support for MPEG4 (or rather MPEG4 part 2 as H.264 is MPEG4 part 10), so DivX and similar formats are still lacking hardware decoding. In its wisdom, or rather lack thereof, Intel won't be offering hardware decode for Flash from version 11.0 and onwards. In other words, this is not a platform for the future.

In as much as the new Atom platform is a huge upgrade in many ways, we can't help but feel disappointed about how little Intel really has added. It's very clear that Intel is scared that its Atom platforms will eat away market share from its Celeron and Pentium branded processors. AMD's only battle in this market space is to gain consumer approval, as its entry level Fusion platform with the E and C-series APU's are easily outperforming Intel's Atom processors where it matters for most consumers. We doubt that Intel will have a hard sell, but we don't think its Atom processors will have the same market share as in the past, as the platform just isn't competitive any more.

Source: Intel (PDF)