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Intel Atom N2600 and N2800 now shipping, Cedar Trail netbooks due early 2012

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Intel's Cedar Trail Atom processors are now shipping after two delays. Chips include the Atom N2600 and Atom N2800, which should provide more graphical power for netbooks and nettops early next year.

Intel Atom N2600 N2800 promo
Intel Atom N2600 N2800 promo

Why does this woman look so happy? It's because she's using an inexpensive netbook with better graphics and battery life than ever. At least, that's what we expect Intel would say, which finally launched its Cedar Trail platform today after three months' delay. As we'd heard, it consists of the 1.60GHz Atom N2600 and 1.86GHz N2800 processors for netbooks, as well as the 2.1GHz D2700 chip for digital signage and other fanless integrated rigs (the D2500 seems to have fallen off the map), and Cedar Trail brings a new Intel GMA 3600 graphics engine, Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) and Wireless Music features to the low-power platform. The company's also teasing some new form factors for Atom, too, claiming that while Atom netbooks will start at $199, there may be touchscreen and/or convertible models above the $400 price point.

AnandTech reports that the new GMA 3600 is actually a PowerVR SGX545, a powerful derivative of the GPU technology found in many recent smartphones. It runs quite a bit faster here, though, clocked at up to 640MHz in the N2800 configuration with an eight-watt TDP. Before you worry about power consumption, though, Intel claims that same arrangement uses only 2.62 watts on average, and that the new GPU can offload streaming video duties from the processor to reduce CPU use, too. You're still looking at an Intel-estimated 10 hours of battery life with Cedar Trail netbooks. We're not wholly convinced that a netbook market still exists, mind you, but as we've seen, there's still some healthy OEM support. Expect Cedar Trail machines from the likes of Asus, Acer, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba in early 2012.