If you noticed, most of the netbooks are powered by Intel Atom CPUs which ranges from the N270 to the dual core Z530. What about alternative CPUs then? Are they not up to par with the Intel Atom CPUs? Not really. It is just that Intel is the world's frontline CPU maker and it is really hard to battle with a company like Intel. Well, AMD is struggling to compete with Intel but I see some potential in AMD in desktop and also laptop CPUs. What about rival CPUs in netbook CPUs then? Don't just let Intel take all the credit for it?
Intel mentioned that their chip is designed to work on screens up to 10 inches wide. If any manufacturer were to use the Atom on bigger netbooks, they would have to pay more, I believe it is around US$ 10 more. That would not be too hard on companies to pay an extra US$10, right? I am not sure about other people but I do like 12" screens as compared to a 10" screen. Look at the Dell mini 12. One would have to pay around £399 for a typical Dell mini 12. There is nothing bad about the Dell mini 12 but if you are wondering whether you can upgrade the 1GB of onboard memory, think again. The answer is no. You can't add more physical memory on the Dell mini 12. You are stuck with 1GB of memory.
What about other manufacturers taking onboard 12" netbooks then? Well, right now, you can only get from one which is the Samsung NC20. If you look at the specifications, the 12" netbook is powered by VIA's new Nano CPU. Although the clock speed is merely 1.3+Ghz, it has support for MMX,SSE,SSE2,SSE3,SSSE3,x86-64,NX bit, x86 virtualization and VIA Powersaver.The CPU in question on the Samsung NC20 is the U2250. It has 128KB L1 cache and 1MB L2 cache running at 800mhz FSB with TDP at 8W! That is pretty impressive, don't you think so? Well, the Samsung NC20 weights less than 1.3kg and you have two colours to choose from, black or white. I would prefer the black version if I want to buy one. The Samsung NC20 also sports 3x usb 2.0 ports, audio out, microphone jack, bluetooth 2.0+ EDR, a video camera and the ability to upgrade your memory to 2GB.
If you are thinking that Intel's Atom CPU might be superior to the VIA Nano, think twice. Do you know why? With the current N270 and N280 Atom CPUs, it does not support 64 bit softwares and not Virtualisation.With the popular N270, you get 1.6Ghz and with 533mhz FSB and 512KB of L2 cache. With the N280,the speed has bump up by 67mhz and you get 677Mhz FSB with the same amount of L2 cache. Everything else is the same with the N270.Even with the Atom Z series, it does not support Intel 64 EMT but it is a single core CPU with Hyperthreating and it comes with 512KB of L2 cache and 533mhz FSB.
If you want a 12" netbook, you only have two choices right now. It is either the Dell Mini 12 or the Samsung NC20...