Intel today announced the newest Atom processors and companion chipsets which are up to 60% smaller and 20% more energy efficient than existing Atom processors and chipsets.

The Atom platform, first introduced in mid-2008, has been the key technology driving the rapidly expanding netbook computer market. Netbooks now account from more than one in five notebook computers sold globally.

The Intel Atom processor has fueled an entirely new category of computing over the last year and a half and we think the growth will continue for devices like netbooks and entry-level PCs built around basic computing and Internet usage models,” said Mooly Eden, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group.

The newest Intel Atom platform for netbooks consists of the N450, and a new low-power Intel NM10 Express Chipset. For entry level desktop PCs, it consists of either the Intel Atom processor D410 or the dual core D510, also paired with the Intel NM10 Express Chipset.

One of the most significant features of the new platform is the integration of memory controller and graphics into the CPU which Intel says leads to a substantial reduction in cost, overall footprint and power.

For consumers this means they can look forward to even smaller and more powerful netbook computers with longer battery life. The new chips are expected to begin appearing in systems in January.

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