Since launching the Eee PC 701 in November, 2007, Asus has used a number of different processors including Intel Celeron and Atom chips. What they all have in common is that all of these models have used Intel processors. Even the company’s recent Eee PC 1201N with NVIDIA graphics uses a dual core Atom CPU.
But DigiTimes reports that Asus will introduce a 12 inch Eee PC based on AMD’s Congo platform in February. The Congo platform is sort of AMD’s answer to Intel’s Atom or CULV processors. The platform is designed for thin and light notebooks and costs less than most AMD chips, while still offering higher performance graphics than you’ll get from most Intel Atom powered netbooks.
DigiTimes says that Asus will also launch a new Eee PC sporting NVIDIA ION 2 graphics in April. We’re still waiting for details about NVIDIA’s next-generation ION platform, but the current generation of ION-based computers bundles an Intel Atom processor with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics (instead of using Intel’s dedicated graphics solutions).
Because the Intel Atom Pine Trail platform combines graphics and CPU components onto a single chip, it’s likely that ION 2 will be more analogous to a discrete graphics solution. It’s not clear if this means that end users will be able to choose between using discrete or dedicated graphics dependind on whether they need more battery life or higher performance, or if ION 2-based systems will automatically use NVIDIA graphics instead of Intel graphics.
DigiTimes suggests that the AMD Congo-based Eee PC will sell for about $564 in Taiwan at launch, although the notebook will likely sell for less if and when it’s released in the US. No word on the price for the Eee PC with NVIDIA ION 2.