Report: Atom may soon power half of cheap desktops

While Intel’s Atom processors are almost omnipresent in the netbook market, they’ve only made their way into a relatively small portion of desktops. However, DigiTimes quotes Taiwanese industry sources who say that Intel anticipates considerable growth in Atom demand for low-end desktop PCs.

Reportedly, the single-core Atom 230 makes up 4% of Intel’s CPU shipments for nettops and cheap desktops this quarter, while the dual-core variant (the Atom 330) represents another 6%. DigiTimes says Intel has adjusted its targets for the fourth quarter so that the Atom 330 and 230 will account for 52% and 10% of shipments, respectively—almost two thirds of the market put together. Celeron 200 and E1000 processors will make up the remainder.

DigiTimes notes that Intel will roll out a dual-core Atom successor code-named Pineview-DC in the same quarter. A single-core derivative will follow in Q1 2010. As far as we’re aware, those parts should both be system-on-a-chip devices with built-in graphics cores.

Comments closed
    • asdsa
    • 11 years ago

    Wuhuu, more money to Intel.

    • clone
    • 11 years ago

    this will be horrible for pc gaming, it was bad enough that integrated gfx killed performance in games limiting a demographic but at least in many cases consumers could upgrade at a later date with an add in board, now the cpu’s will be so bad that just the thought of “getting their feet wet” will be lost……….Atom just isn’t suited for the desktop and in that environment all of it’s strengths become weaknesses, frugal on power? low heat production? poor performance?

    all 3 are either needed or can be overlooked in a netbook but on the desktop 2 don’t matter and the 3rd kills the deal.

    why?

    Intel and AMD used to slog it out for first and now that Intel owns 1st…. not just by a little but clear and solid they own first and can establish their own prices…. with this in mind why poach sales from their own high end divisions?

    the lower Intel sets the bar the harder it’ll be for them to maintain the high end.

    Atom must be an uber cheap cpu to build and sell or Intel see’s no future in desktop and is getting what they can before it’s gone while killing AMD in the process.

      • BoBzeBuilder
      • 11 years ago

      I’m sure game developers won’t halt all the sudden and start developing for the Atom platform. Atom is not for games, it’s a low power processor for everyday web browsing, maybe some SD video and music, not gaming.

      Games and big software are targeted toward those with real computers.

        • khands
        • 11 years ago

        For now, but what happens when real computers are outnumbered by there Atom counterparts 10 to 1? 50 to 1? 100 to 1? They’d be stupid NOT to develop for the atom platform, ’cause a cheap, impulse buy game there would outgross and way outnet games developed for “real computers”.

          • BoBzeBuilder
          • 11 years ago

          What can you possibly develop for the Atom with it’s garbage Intel graphics?
          If I remember TR’s poll correctly, few people use the atom as their main computer. I agree that maybe average joe would want to play Pacman on his atom, but a game like Crysis is targeted at the gamer population who would never replace their existing platform with Atom.

        • PetMiceRnice
        • 11 years ago

        Agreed, plus gamers would not be seriously considering the Atom anyway. Even gamers on a budget have some low-cost CPU’s already out there which are way more capable.

          • clone
          • 11 years ago

          the problem with the logic of “gamers won’t buy Atom” is that most parents aren’t gamers the kids are but parents will flock to an inexpensive pc desktop or otherwise so the kids are stuck using it and in this case they’ll have no upgrade path to ask for Xmas or whataever.

          the enthusiast segment is vapor…… less than 5% of the computer market is gamers and all of those are established, if Atom makes the inroads Intel is hoping for then half of computers sold won’t ever be able to render modern games even as mentioned “to get their feet wet”…. consoles will be the viable alternative because their will be no upgrade path to follow.

          it’s not established gamers who will suffer hardware wise under this scenario but the developers will continue to move to consoles because a developer can’t afford to write $20 million games for a shrinking market when emerging gamers are pushed to choose consoles instead.

          this may have been inevitable but this is yet another sign of that progression and Intel is simply accepting that future or sees the opportunity.

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            Most gamers aren’t kids, most serious gamers use consoles, and most casual computer gamers (which are most computer gamers — as you note, enthusiasts are a tiny minority) play games that don’t stress the hardware — we’re talking Bejewelled and the like.

            I expect Atom can run The Sims. I don’t know about Spore or WoW. But that’s about the top end that most people need, and the games with the broadest reach have been designed for that level of hardware going back to when that level of hardware was what enthusiasts had too.

            • clone
            • 11 years ago

            all gamers were kids, the vast majority of pc gamers today started with crappy consoles and then grew up with pc’s and gamed on pc’s, my first pc used integrated graphics which I soon replaced augmented with a 12mb voodoo…… I was using a PS1 at the time as well and had I not been able to upgrade I would not have replaced my entire computer just for games I would have stuck with consoles.

            if Atom gains traction emerging gamers will stay with console and ignore pc gaming altogether…. it’s really that simple especially today when consoles aren’t nearly so inadequate and development costs being so high for each title…. the days of PC exclusive product is going and if Atom gains traction it’s likely that PC gaming enthusiasts will shrink from 5% to 1% of the market.

            p.s. I don’t know the exact stats but I assume everyone knew that enthusiasts make up a negligible part of the pc community and with that in mind reduce it another 80% and it won’t matter at all.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            Recent surveys and studies show the average gamer is over 30.

      • burntham77
      • 11 years ago

      That was my first reaction when I read this article. This is part of why I buy AMD. They are pushing for integrated graphics that can actually run games, and even the cheapest of dual core AMD CPUs can power even the newest games, albeit not at the highest graphics settings. The Atom just seems like crap to me.

        • swaaye
        • 11 years ago

        I think you are confusing AMD’s motives with their capabilities.

        I think they don’t have an x86 CPU like Atom simply because they don’t have the R&D capacity to make it. Their IGPs are better because they have to be. It’s really the only reason to choose an AMD chipset over Intel. Hell, I still prefer Intel chipsets simply because they are generally better all-around IMO.

        AMD will go wherever they can and wherever the market suggests there is profit to be had. They aren’t out to favor gamers specifically.

      • swaaye
      • 11 years ago

      Your argument is that the only thing exciting about gaming is ever better graphics. Consider what amazing games can run on a 1 GHz P3 with a GeForce 3. That’s what the current netbook platform basically is. Sure, better graphics are part of the fun, but there’s no reason there can’t be amazing games designed for relatively slow hardware. I’d argue that I have more fun with games from those days than anything released in the past 5 years or so.

      I think the groups with the most to lose here are hardware companies. We are seeing a trend of consumers buying hardware that’s quite slow and cheap. I think it spells out just how much the market has lost interest in paying big bucks for the latest computer hardware. The value isn’t there anymore for the majority.

      I also think that the majority of netbook owners doing care at all about gaming. Most computer owners in general don’t care about “hardcore” 3D gaming all that much. That has never really hurt the gamer populace.

    • just brew it!
    • 11 years ago

    At work we just started evaluating Atom as a potential embedded platform. We have a product that is currently based on a 1GHz Celeron; we’re thinking that the 1.6GHz dual-core Atom may be a viable alternative.

    • kenclopz
    • 11 years ago

    If applications go the way of quake live, netbooks may definitely be the next big thing. I’d imagine that we will all be playing Crysis or something on that calibur on one of these if stuff like quake live works.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 11 years ago

    This is a horrible development for the PC software industry. Instead of continuing to grow fantastic new applications that expand our capabilities, software development companies are going to have to put all of their resources into dumbing-down their software so that it can execute on the obsolete piece of crap that is the Atom platform.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 11 years ago

      ++
      This is NOT the direction I want the market going in. It’s not like low end CPUs are expensive now, and even the most basic of them beats Atom up.

        • ludi
        • 11 years ago

        I’m not sure a little forced software optimizing would be such a bad thing for the industry.

          • Crayon Shin Chan
          • 11 years ago

          ludi’s right. Software has become increasingly bloated and slower. Now this may be the task’s fault, but it certainly hurts that most programmers I talk to don’t even know anything about the processor they’re programming for.

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Yes, but is it a good thing to be optimizing for an in-order CPU?

          For that matter, do we really want another platform that slows down the transition to x64? Because while the Atom apparently supports the x64 ISA (in its desktop variants, anyway), the 945-series chipsets don’t support more than 32bits of addressing (in fact I think the chipsets currently paired with the Atom in Netbooks — 945GSE and US15 — are limited to just 2GB). No matter how optimized my apps, i still would like the option to add more memory so I can run more of them without paging.

            • Crayon Shin Chan
            • 11 years ago

            You might as well ask “Is there any need to optimize for out of order processors?”

            • UberGerbil
            • 11 years ago

            It’s not a symmetric question. Among x86 installed base, how many are in-order and how many are out-of-order? Or do you think OoO is a dead-end, and all future CPUs are going to go back to in-order? Are Atom derivatives the only x86 CPUs we’ll be able to buy in a couple of years, unless we’re buying servers?

            Of course, it doesn’t have to be either-or: you can have a JIT compiler that generates native code optimized for the current processor… though apps that use a framework and a JITer (Java and .NET, etc) are generally considered to be /[

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            I guess I was thinking on a little higher level, more like what you were just complaining about in Firefox — programmers assuming they have effectively infinite memory and processing power to handle whatever they want to throw at it.

            Atom can tolerably handle a fair amount of modern software that was never optimized specifically for an in-order processor with 1GB of RAM, provided there isn’t excessive concurrent activity. If this configuration becomes the baseline for a reasonable amount of targeted optimization, it could produce some beneficial results.

        • burntham77
        • 11 years ago

        We can buy a 1.9ghz dual core Athlon that is rated at 45 watts and you can game with it. I just do not see the use for Atom on the desktop. For portables that are not meant for games, then it makes sense.

      • albundy
      • 11 years ago

      vs. infecting us with bloatware? sooner or later, this is what it comes down to.

        • continuum
        • 11 years ago

        Exactly… bloat is friggin’ everywhere.

        That said I am very curious to see if this results in any bifurication of the market. And with a dual-core Atom, honestly, for typical office and home use, it’s actually still decently fast…

      • w00tstock
      • 11 years ago

      I see the Atom DC to be a great path for many a company to move to thin clients. Also the article state that this is primarily going to move in on the celeron and E1000 lines of CPUs which I don’t see an a major issue. This approach also combats winrot quite effectively. I would however frown on this type of system to be set up as a full desktop. Many companies just don’t have the it staff of infrastructure to pull that off and will get duped into these systems.
      I would like to know what the average wattage of a E1000 computer is vs the estimated 25W of an atom.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        50-70W from the wall with integrated graphics and an appropriately sized and efficient PSU I’d say from experience, that’s for a full system aside from display.

          • Farting Bob
          • 11 years ago

          My fileserver has a AMD LE1640 on a 690G mobo, 2GB RAM with 3 1TB HDD’s and it idles at 43w. It is more than capable of being an office PC with a dirt cheap HDD, KB/M. <£200.
          Atoms in desktops make no sense right now. Maybe the next gen can give significant performance boosts. What they really need to do is have a specific desktop version which would use a fair bit more power but also more performance, then have a portable version which uses the bare minimum.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            That’s a single core right? Sounds about right. I have a Cel e1200 undervolted which is specifically what the previous poster was asking about. From the wall it draws ~50W idle with 2 HDs and doesn’t go above 70W fully loaded.

      • kenclopz
      • 11 years ago

      Schools will be looking at this as a great buy for classrooms, $250 laptops with smaller keyboards that are geared towards k-6 students with smaller hands. It’s lighter for them to hold too.

        • sonneillon
        • 11 years ago

        Not just for laptops for schools but for desktops in areas such as in the library or for a basic desktop in each room as a research station.

        I use to be an IT admin for a small charter high school (150-200 students) and while most classrooms did have computers in them the math and social studies class rooms did not have any computers except for the teacher computer.

        Depending on the cost of one of the atom desktops it would be perfect to throw in the those class rooms for use as a research computer. When your talking about buying 10 (2 each for the 5 classrooms that didn’t have computers) computers for a small school every penny saved is a good thing especially with the small IT budget I had to work with.

          • swaaye
          • 11 years ago

          So, before Atom, there was no opportunity for such a low cost system? Hmmm.

          I see Atom as not only a shortsighted solution, but a “backwards-sighted” one. You are buying performance basically equal to a PC from 2001. You could step the CPU up to a $40 Athlon 64 X2 and have vastly superior performance and still have superb power consumption.

          Atom is only suitable for use in devices that need its 2W heat output. It pays a huge price in performance to get that low power use. It is not worthwhile to accept that on the desktop.

      • P4Power
      • 11 years ago

      It’s not like the Atom is going to end the race for speed. Intel and AMD don’t shoot for what the market “needs”, they go way past that. If they didn’t we would not be where we are today with quad-core processors. This is just the mainstream we are talking about, the Celeron/Sempron world. Just think, this is the same part of the market that Intel sold the brain-damaged Celeron based on the Pentium 4 not that long ago (and the Atom is a damn sight faster than those were when it comes to everyday usage).

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 11 years ago

    meh, I’m still waiting for the quark. A 2-watt chip with performance equivalent to a telephone.

    • paulWTAMU
    • 11 years ago

    Am I correct in thinking that Atom’s pretty weak in performance even compared to current bargin bin parts like the Celeron? I remember reviews and benchies of it indicate weak performance.

      • Tamale
      • 11 years ago

      I dunno, I am very happy with the performance of the Atom in my EEE 901. Windows XP feels snappy and responsive.

      The only time I notice it lacking power is when I’m installing software, which I’m pretty much done doing now that I have it set up the way I like.

        • ludi
        • 11 years ago

        Actually, if you want to notice the desktop performance deficit, try running it back to back with a desktop or reasonably fast laptop on the same desktop monitor at native res. The lagtime becomes readily apparent when launching new apps or multitasking.

        It’s a great platform for netbooks where you’re willing to make reasonable tradeoffs for the sake of portability, and its plenty fast enough for that kind of use (limited screen area, probably not running more than two or three things at once, etc.). The dualcore version may reduce some of that lage but even so, IMO it’s not an appropriate platofrm for desktop environments where form-fact requirements don’t exist to push up cost and cooling limitations.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 11 years ago

      It is extremely weak performance wise. However, for what a netbook/nettop is expected to do (which is web browsing and probably running an office suite) its strong enough.

      However, its starting to pop up in places where it doesn’t belong, like the desktop. I don’t think a chip like this belongs in any general purpose machine that does more than host a web browser.

    • leor
    • 11 years ago

    atom is a POS, I’m waiting on the next iteration: the molecule

      • khands
      • 11 years ago

      Nah, you’re thinking to big, next one will be the electron.

        • Krogoth
        • 11 years ago

        Pfffft, it should be called a neutrino.

          • khands
          • 11 years ago

          They gotta keep something for the third iteration 😉

            • 5150
            • 11 years ago

            I thought they were going to call it Vacuum, because it sucks and leaves you feeling empty.

    • cygnus1
    • 11 years ago

    Come on already!

    ION based atom FTW

    • Big-Mac
    • 11 years ago

    re to #2: Not yet, at lease not in retail market yet.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    This is a bad trend for small firms with no IT departments. winRot on an atom nettop? I shudder to think of it.

      • cygnus1
      • 11 years ago

      from hardware perspective, i’ve never noticed rotted systems maxing out CPUs. they’ll eat up all your ram and they’ll grind a hard drive into dust, but i just don’t think the CPU will matter as much

      • Sargent Duck
      • 11 years ago

      From what I’ve read, Microsoft has devoted significant resources to battling “winrot” in Win 7.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        I have a feeling that skeezy guys from the Sales department, or single mom’s from accounts payable will still find a way to slowly bring Win7 to a popup madness or stuttering crawl.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 11 years ago

      This is a bad trend, period. AMD needs to hurry up with their new low end platforms. They walk all over this gimmicky junk.

      5 years later, the Athlon 64 could still come back to haunt Intel for getting too cocky.

    • ImSpartacus
    • 11 years ago

    Intel has had fantastic timing with Atom. As bad as the economy is looking, this is the perfect time for this product. It wouldn’t surprise me if the new Atom takes up over 50% of Intel’s shipments for the 4th quarter.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      With a commiserate impact on their profits. Fortunately for them, they also have a new wave of Nehalem server parts coming out starting very soon. And while no business really wants to be spending money in the current environment, the savings resulting from server consolidation may be enough to tempt a few.

        • bthylafh
        • 11 years ago

        “commensurate”.

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Thanks. Bad autocorrect (and stupid human who wasn’t paying attention). Though it might be what INTC shareholders begin doing amongst themselves if this comes to pass….

    • Big-Mac
    • 11 years ago

    Atom 330+945gc is selling for $90 now. As soon as the atom 330+GN40 come out at same price, i will replace all 3 desktops in my home.

      • tfp
      • 11 years ago

      do they sell a atom 330 + GN40 MB only combo?

      • armistitiu
      • 11 years ago

      Why would you replace your desktop with an atom? I mean i doesn’t matter how old they are …they are still more powerful than atom 🙂 . Hell i bet even my old Sempron beats it .So instead of replacing them just leave them as they are and throw the money(for the Atom PC’s) away …you still win ;). I still don’t get this Atom thinggie everyone is talking about.

        • Big-Mac
        • 11 years ago

        my old p4 PCs are pretty out of date, and ‘hot’ of course. Adding more DDR memory is pricey and worthless.
        Atom 330 + 2GB memory is good enough for internet exploring, online banking, SD video…
        Some of the Mini-ITX case look pretty neat compare to my chunky/heavy/noisy ATX case. 🙂

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 11 years ago

      Why on earth would you want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to replace perfectly fine computers with undoubtedly slower ones?

      • ish718
      • 11 years ago

      LOL?
      You can grab a brisbane and a AM2+ mobo for that same price

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 11 years ago

        And ironically, some of them don’t really use much, or any more power, and that’s only at peak load.

        AMD’s chipsets are modern 55nm parts. Intel pretty much uses the Atom to dump their old junk that they keep manufacturing, but would otherwise have no use for.

          • Big-Mac
          • 11 years ago

          That’s why I’ll wait until GN40.
          Did I mention those fancy/slim/quite/cool Mini-ITX cases?

            • ish718
            • 11 years ago

            You can get a “small enough” micro ATX case, how much space do you really need?lol.
            I wouldn’t trade 2x performance for some a little bit of more space.
            Atom fails for a the desktop, its ok for a netbook though…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This