Intel’s Z series of Atom processors use less power than the Intel Atom N270/N280 chips currently found in most netbooks. And that means the handful of mini-laptops using a Z520 or similar processor can get longer run time with the same battery. But these machines also feel much more sluggish when performing CPU-intensive tasks like playing Flash video, or even surfing the web with multiple browser tabs open.

So I didn’t shed any tears today when I read a report in DigiTimes indicating that Intel plans to stop taking orders from netbook makers for Z-series Intel Atom processors.

It’ll be a little while before we see the processor phased out entirely. Acer, Asus, and MSI apparently have outstanding orders waiting to be filled, so you’ll probably keep seeing netbooks with these processors hitting the streets over the next few months. And Intel hasn’t said it’s killing off the Atom Z line altogether. Rather, it’ll most likely be relegated to MIDs, which are touchscreen-based mobile internet devices, instead of netbooks.

Update: An Intel spokesperson writes in to say that the DigiTimes report is incorrect, and that Intel is continuing to fill orders for the Z-series Atom processors.

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6 replies on “Report: Intel to kill off Atom Z-series netbook processors”

  1. Looks like that commenter was correct:

    I knew you wouldn’t post his comment in the original post if it wasn’t credible.

    DigiTimes has been unreliable so many times now. After reading IntoMobile’s article about the Apple Tablet, I have second thoughts about taking info from them.

    After reading

  2. I work in the PR department at Intel. The report from DigiTimes is 100% incorrect and has no truth to it whatsoever. The parts continue to sell and orders continue to be taken. You might want to check with Intel before posting stories like this.

  3. I’ve always been skeptical of the use of slow processors, intended for MIDs, in netbooks and especially in expensive Vista-running tablets like the Kohjinsha SX3. I’ve assumed that this was at least partly the result of market-warping restrictions from Microsoft and Intel and I’m glad I never bought one of these units.

    1. It certainly won’t work for everyone, but a Z series Atom can be a really good chip, depending on the compromises you want to make in your system.

      Take the Aspire One 751 — high res (1366×768), 1″ thick, 3.1 lbs., very long battery life, full-sized keys, currently $349 at Amazon. If you need the resolution and the battery life but you don’t need many CPU cycles, this is a really good deal.

      Yeah, Vista is an awful idea. Windows 7 ought to be usable, though.

      Of course, in my mind, what a system like this really cries out for is a lightweight Linux with a tiling window manager like ratpoison or xmonad. Text mode geeks have a desperate need for pixels, but often don’t tax their CPUs very badly — and they may be doing everything important remotely using ssh anyway.

      It’s readily appearent that this won’t work for everyone. But I love it when there are vendors that are willing to experiment with systems that depart from the generic N2x0/10″/1GB/160GB/6 cell/XP Home/$3-400 netbook specs. Viva la difference.

      1. Well, I’ve been under the impression that the higher resolution would cause a significant drain on the CPU and was consequently puzzled by this pairing. It makes more sense with your explanation. I certainly also like to see innovative and offbeat systems and I definitely think that “one size does not fit all.” 😉

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