We get a first glance at Pine Trail netbooks

COMPUTEX — Intel isn’t just focusing on fancy quad-core processors at Computex—far from it. At a keynote presentation earlier today, Intel’s Mooly Eden and Sean Maloney gave the first public demo of Pine Trail, the next-generation Atom platform for netbooks.

We elbowed our way into the front row of eager attendees and grabbed some photos of pictures of the demo systems. The panel included an Asus Eee PC prototype, an MSI Wind prototype, and a third mystery netbook with no discernible branding on it.

Where the current Atom platform for netbooks combines the CPU, an aging 945 north bridge, and a separate ICH7 south bridge, Pine Trail will include only two chips: one for the processor and graphics, and another for the I/O. Pine Trail is on track to hit production in the fourth quarter of this year.

At the same event, Eden formally announced Intel’s consumer ultra-low-voltage (CULV) processors and accompanying GS40 chipset. CULV CPUs have thermal envelopes up to 10W, and they should fit into ultra-thin, affordable laptops like the newly released MSI X340.

Last, but not least, Intel announced a new 3.06GHz mobile Core 2 CPU. You can learn more by checking out Intel’s press release about the new CULV hardware and the faster standard-voltage Core 2.

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    • Palek
    • 14 years ago

    I think the man looks a LOT like Greg Kinnear. Twins separated at birth?

    • Palek
    • 14 years ago

    Yeah, looks like a power button, although I’m not familiar with the EeePC.

    • zima
    • 14 years ago

    Well, OLPC XO-1 has, afai remember, slightly above 10W max power drain, almost exclusively in “screen half”. That’s comparable to Atom SoC probably, and it works fine with the electronics behind screen/no ventilation holes (and the backside of the screen is just a thick, smooth plastic, not some, for example, slightly grooved metal)

    • axeman
    • 14 years ago

    I remember hearing about screens getting weird discoloration in some spots on the LCD in some version of the iMac because of heat. Then again, maybe in a notebook, the heat output would be low enough to avoid this problem. OTOH, they might be able to make the backside of the lid some sort of heatsink. Of course I’ve found that the biggest culprit to a hot lap is the damn battery when it’s discharging/charging on most laptops.

    • Shobai
    • 14 years ago

    ah, you’re not talking about the power button, are you?

    • wibeasley
    • 14 years ago

    1/8″ jack? some biometrical sensor? webcam for your ear-nose-throat doctor? light/temp sensor? fancy LED?

    it may have one of those protective clear plastic films that’s obscuring the shape of that silver circle.

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    What is that black thing in the hinge area of the Eee? It kind of looks like a webcam, but there’s already one in the top bezel, correct?

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    Those may be little more than demo mules. They may go ahead and sell them, since it’s a quick and cheap way to refresh the line, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the real from-scratch designs show up closer to Q4.

    • zima
    • 14 years ago

    Balance is a non-issue IMHO:
    There’s a large and heavy thing in all netbooks that could be placed not at the back but in the front, below the palmrest – battery (preferably 9-cell). There would a place for it, because with the mainboard behind the screen the “bottom half” would have basically just HDD/SSD, keyboard (better/deeper/with keys that have longer movement?) and…battery.

    (don’t make up “but it would be unsafe!” bs – most people don’t mind carrying such batteries in their pocket, right next to their balls (if they have them…) ;p )

    Also, remember that mainboard with Atom SoC could be really small & light (if vendors would make it sensibly…for example, no memory sockets & no need to open it easily – but the netbook would need to have, say, 2gb of ram soldered in); hopefully also outputting small enough amount of heat (perhaps with help of subtle “vertical” (when the screen is opened) perforations/grooves?). Plus…isn’t the problem with heat from LCDs more to do with backlighting? (not really an issue with LED backlight popular in netbooks)

    • ludi
    • 14 years ago

    These look like the exact same shells as the existing netbooks, which is disappointing. I was hoping the reduction in required chip (and system board) space would be used creatively in order to slim things down a bit.

    • ludi
    • 14 years ago

    AFAICT both of the other units are using two-tone screen shells (bezel one color, topcover a different, contrasting color) which gives a false slimming effect. I don’t think the screen on the third unit is significantly thicker, it just looks like it because of the all-black design blends into the shadows.

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    I think those cables are plugging into the back at the bottom near the hinge in conventional fashion, but the angle in the photo does make it look like they’re going into the screen (if you look carefully at the shadow it’s apparent they’re actually lying on the table, but the featurelessness of the white background makes it look like they’re hanging in space).

    Anyway, putting the guts behind the screen has some weight and balance issues. Think about it: moving the mainboard etc behind the screen makes that half heavier than the keyboard half, which means it topples over backward whenever you get the screen anywhere past vertical (and tippy when it is near vertical). Well, unless the battery covers the entire bottom of the keyboard half, which would make it significantly thicker again.

    Plus convection isn’t going to cool as well as you think; you’ll still need a fan –in fact some LCD monitors run hot enough that they incorporate a fan because they can’t rely on convection alone. I’ve always wanted to see someone try sealed liquid cooling using the entire back of the screen as the radiator, but that approach is going to be too heavy for portable use.

    There _[

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    Not really, although UsersNotMakingUpStuffToMakeaPointReport would be nice.

    • UberGerbil
    • 14 years ago

    Actually, that photo on the front page is either the effect of very unfortunate shadowing, or….

    Larry and Curly were standing just outside the frame. “Oh, a /[

    • no51
    • 14 years ago

    I bet you’d prefer HomeServerReport 😉

    • zima
    • 14 years ago

    It’s not very clear on those photos…but isn’t the “screen half” of the /[

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 14 years ago

    “I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why didn’t I take the /[

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    He looks more like Joe Pantalione (sp?) to me but it’s one of those two guys from Intel named in the first paragraph.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 14 years ago

    You’ve got Dennis Hopper on your front page.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 14 years ago

    Oh noes, NetBookReport!

    j/k 🙂

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