DDR3 coming back to netbooks with new Atoms

Intel logoA report at the DigitTimes claims that Intel is poised to launch a pair of Atom parts with DDR3 support, and that report has been confirmed by a slip-up on Toshiba's French site. DigiTimes doesn't give a specific date for the launch of the upcoming the N455 and N475—the publication says only that the launch will happen "shortly." And given that Toshiba France has already put out a page for its NB305-10F, which pairs an N455 with 1GB of 1066MHz DDR3, we'd expect the launch to happen any day.

Also allegedly on tap for June is the dual-core Atom N500 launch, along with a $575 N500-based netbook from Asus.

Given that DDR2 and DDR3 prices reached parity and then crossed over at the beginning of this month, DDR3 was bound to arrive on the Atom platform. Atom doesn't actually need DDR3 for performance reasons—DDR2 would do just fine, because Atom's bottlenecks are elsewhere. But DDR2 prices have risen while DDR3 has remained flat, and Atom systems are cost-sensitive, so it makes sense to pair Atom with the now-cheaper DDR3.

Of course, the upcoming Atom parts only mark the return, and not the introduction, of DDR3 to Atom-based netbooks. Back before they were given the boot by Intel via the DMI bus licensing dispute, NVIDIA's ION platform paired early Atoms with DDR3 memory. So soon it will once again be possible to get a new Atom netbook, and even an ION 2-based netbook, with DDR3—not that this will make any real-world performance difference for most netbook users.

Source: arstechnica

Tags: Atom, Intel, netbooks

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