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Laptops

Intel Atom N270: The brains behind the mini laptop revolution

Last week, we brought you a full hands-on with the MSI Wind, but we couldn't tell you what CPU it was using. Today, the secret's out

Last week we brought you a full hands-on with the MSI Wind. Unfortunately, we couldn't tell you what CPU it was using, due to threats of incessant tickle-based torture from Intel. However, the world's biggest chip manufacturer has dropped its feather duster, and we've made a run for it. So here are the deets:

The Wind -- and indeed the Acer Aspire One (and probably the Eee PC 901 and Eee PC 1000) -- will use a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 chip. There. We said it. As you can see from the accompanying CPU-Z screenshot, which we ran on the Wind, it's the much-lauded 45nm Silverthorne chip the mini laptop world has been waiting for.

It supports MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3 and SSSE3 instructions, and has a 132MHz bus speed, which when combined with a 12x multiplier gives you 1,584MHz -- but we'll call 1.6GHz for the sake of arguing. Contrary to some reports, this chip is not dual core, but it does support hyperthreading, which is still handy in the absence of an extra core.

As previously discussed, MSI says the Wind's N270 CPU can be overclocked from its standard 1.6GHz clock speed to approximately 1.9GHz with the aid of MSI's TurboDrive engine. We'll bring you full PCMark 2005 benchmark scores of the Wind running as standard and in its overclocked state very shortly.

Keep it Crave for more mini laptop goodness. -Rory Reid