March 20, 2009 at 10:48 am
Intel is about to introduce a new flagship CPU to the Z5X0 series in April according to HKEPC. The 2.0GHz Z550 Intel Atom is expected to replace the current 1.86GHz Z540 Atom CPU and interestingly has the same power draw. Average power consumption and maximum TDP remain at 0.22W and 2.4W. It will also offer 512KB L2 cache and 533MHz FSB. Overall, the Z550 will offer more speed with the same power efficiency and likely same cost as the Z540.
We have so far seen very few netbooks/MIDs embrace the 1.86GHz Z540 processor and one of the main reasons is that the cost is nearly treble that of the popular 1.6Ghz N270 CPU seen in many netbooks today. This new CPU is not likely to change this in the short-term, although it would mean that the gap between the flagship Z550 CPU and the second most powerful CPU, the Z530 would be 0.4GHz. This would perhaps be a big enough distinction for some netbook manufacturers to differentiate their premium end-models.