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HolidayBuyer's Guide

While we were at CES, we stumbled across a lady on the Intel booth with the eeny-weeny new Atom N450 chip stuck to her chest. So we took pictures of it -- the chip, that is.

She didn't seem too keen on our cameras, but when we fed her some line about these chips -- codenamed 'Pineview' -- replacing the current 'Diamondville' Atom N270 as the mainstay for next-gen netbooks, and that you lot would be interested in reading about them, she caved in. Sucker.

Okay, so we probably won't be headhunted by Zoo magazine any time soon, but hang around because the N450 is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly it's 60 per cent smaller than the previous generation, which means netbooks and mobile Internet devices that utilise its talents can have smaller, sexier designs than was previously possible.

More significant, though, is the fact the N450 is more tightly integrated. Unlike Diamondville, which used separate memory and graphics controllers, the N450 incorporates both these elements on to that single tiny piece of silicon. This, according to Intel, means Pineview chips deliver better performance while consuming 20 per cent less power on average. Score!

The new design will benefit desktop PCs, too. Intel has been busy working on the single-core Atom D410 and dual-core Atom D510 processors for nettops and all-in-one PCs. Like their netbook brethren, they'll be faster and consume less power than their predecessors, paving the way for a generation of what will hopefully be more interesting and versatile computers.

Alright, that's enough geek pr0n for now, but you can have an open-mouthed gander at other pics of this thing in our gallery, or come back later for a look at some of the devices the N450 and its ilk will be featuring in.

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As you can see, the new Atoms are small. Without its package -- the bits that allow you to connect it to a motherboard -- we'd estimate it's around a fifth of the size of a lady's fingernail.
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The new Atom will appear in a wealth of sexy-looking netbooks, as well as unusual tablet PCs such as this device from Cynovo.
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