Intel Atom, earlier known by its codename Silverthorne, has got a lot of press coverage lately. And the odd thing is that people have talked so much about it although it isn't seen inside any machines, no one knows its performance and Intel hasn't told which UMPCs will end up with this processor. Also its not a killer processor in terms of design or performance. Then why all the press coverage??
According to me, following are 5 reasons why the Intel Atom is getting so much press coverage:
4.) It's CeBIT Time:
The big trade show from Germany, CeBIT is being held and it's that time of the year when all the hardware journos want to write about something. Motherboard and the CeBIT lobby/booth images are the staple from CeBIT, but there is always buzz around one or two special products. Intel got it right and told the world about Intel Atom just before CeBIT. Journalists were just waiting to write about something and a new Intel product is just what the doctor ordered. Throwing in names are enough. So you have Silverthorne as Atom; another variant with higher TDP called Centrino Atom; another chipset name Poulsbo...
3.) Super Low Power:
Although the world does not know the exact performance of Intel Atom, Intel PR told that its a super low power chip. It claims a TDP of 0.6W - 2.5W, which is commendable. Its targeted towards the small devices where battery life is extremely important. But what about performance?? and what about the chipset power?? A new design and package, completely different set of devices - Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). Its changing a lot of stuff...
2.) Intel Marketing Rocks:
Is there any tech company that can beat Intel in marketing? "Intel Inside" was the best one in the tech industry and Intel really sold many chips on the back of that campaign. Centrino is also another great one from Intel. The same has to be said about Intel Atom. Codenames on the processor started coming early and the hype was created. Then came the design goals and the target market for the chip. Then slowly info trickled on its architecture and then the logo and roadmap. Perfect information release timing and just about perfect marketing.
1.) Who Via ??:
If Via was a slightly bigger name and had the same marketing strength, then I guess the Intel Atom story would have been played down. The VIA Isaiah is a great CPU with excellent performance and good power usage. The Centaur (a Via design-lab) guys have an out-of-order processor which is lot more powerful than the Intel Atom. They are targeted at different power usages, but Via could have waited for an Intel announcement and got back at Intel like AMD used to do at IDF. Via didn't do much to publicize and Intel Atom got the coverage.