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Atom Pine Trail CPU

February 28, 2010 — BarryK
If you have been following the announcements of recent netbooks, you have probably noticed that they are using the Intel Atom N450 CPU. Which is what my new Acer Aspire One 532h has.

One of the features is lower power consumption, so if a 6-cell 5500mah battery is used in my laptop I would be able to get up to 10 hours running time between charges. My laptop though, being offered at a very low price, only has a 3-cell battery. I did some looking around online and found the cheapest 5500mah 6-cell battery costs $108 plus postage. Those batteries ain't cheap!

The Pine Trail has CPU, memory controller and graphics on the same chip. Here is a news and technical page:

There is also talk of a Pine Trail M-series that will add HD video support on the chip. I only read a few vague references to that, not much detail, but I didn't search much. It seems that the next gen. will play 1080p video.

For an explanation of what "1080p" is:

...1080 scan lines, non-interlaced: I guess you would need a monitor with that many pixels vertically. So 480p is fine for my netbook. Entry-level netbooks will probably move up to 1370x768 pixels sometime, then 720p video would be good. I'm far from an expert on this, but my logic seems reasonable.
EDIT 20100301: what I meant by the above is that you would need a monitor with that many horizontal lines if you wanted to render with the full resolution of that particular video standard. Of course, a rendering engine can scale down to suit a particular monitor.

Anyone with more knowledge in this area is invited to comment...


Username: Jemimah
Apparently pine trail has a 64 bit processor. Is there any advantage in compiling a 64 bit kernel for it?

hardware decompression
Username: tempestuous
"1080p and 1080i are the main HiDef broadcasting standards. If you have a 1080i/p video file to play, your hardware (and player application) must be able to decode it in realtime. The resolution of your monitor is irrelevant, this is merely the [u]destination[/u] resolution. The [u]source[/u] resolution remains 1080 (1920x1080). Yes, hardware-accelerated decoding of HiDef material is the way to go. It remains to be seen what decoding regime will be used by Intel-Atom graphics devices. There's talk on the web that they may not attempt the task themselves, but add a separate chipset for this purpose such as the Broadcom "Crystal HD" chip. Of course, whatever decoding regimes are adopted by the hardware vendors, these must then be supported by the player applications. Windows applications will get the new features first, probably via "DirectX" drivers. In Linux, the only currently available hardware-decoding of HiDef codecs is with nVIDIA graphics devices, via the "VDPAU" mechanism, available with the proprietary nVIDIA Xorg driver. MPlayer can be compiled with VDPAU support.

Username: James
"I haven't heard anything about Atom processors bringing 1080 decoding onboard, and I've been following the progress of PineTrail quite closely. Apart from the Broadcom chip mentioned by tempestuous, the other HD graphics solution that is hotly anticipated is nvidia's ion2. It is a GPU designed to be used with PineTrail, and the best guess seems to be that it will be launched at the beginning of March:

Username: tempestuous
"Yes, nVIDIA's Ion chipset utilises the VDPAU hardware decompression scheme. It may not be available on notebooks yet, but it's available on several mini-ITX motherboards integrated with an Atom CPU. These would be perfect as home media centres.

ASUS 10.1"
Username: wombat01
"If you want a cheap netbook Direct Deals has a good deal on for the next couple of days. The ASUS 10.1 netbook for $299 + $9.95 postage. It also comes with Windows7, Wireless N, 160G HDD and the 6 cell battery. Smokey

Username: Raffy
"Yes, the nVidia chip is poised to make a difference in video playing not only in x86 but also in ARM devices. The traditional chips that were packaged with Atom processors can't handle the current Flash videos well, even in Wind0wz.

Username: ttuuxxx
"hi Barry ebay oz has cheap rechargeable 5500mah batteries different shapes and sizes, I don't have the specs of the ones needed so 251 results ttuuxxx

Tags: general