Transitions to finer manufacturing processes often bring higher performance per dollar, but they rarely yield outright price cuts. That convention might change with the arrival of Intel's 32-nm Cedar Trail Atom processors. Quoting several anonymous sources at netbook makers, SemiAccurate says Cedar Trail chips will be anywhere from 30% to 50% cheaper than their current-generation counterparts.
The site talks of two netbook-bound Cedar Trail processors: the Atom N2600, which will reportedly be priced at $42, and the Atom N2800, which Intel will sell for just five dollars more. Both of these chips will have dual cores fabbed using Intel's 32-nm process technology. SemiAccurate also expects "dramatically" smaller thermal envelopes that will enable fanless designs.
For what it's worth, Intel's official price list pins single-core versions of current, netbook-bound Atoms at $64-75. The only dual-core offerings are both priced at $86. SemiAccurate expects the cheaper Cedar Trail offerings will pave the way for netbooks priced as low as $200.
Ultra-affordable netbooks with long battery life sound enticing for sure, but I'm more interested to see what 32-nm Atom chips bring to the tablet arena—and whether they manage to shake the current dominance of ARM-based silicon. I suppose we'll find out later this year.