Intel's new Atom processor , a simple in-order core which promises to bring the x86 ISA to smaller devices in a lower power envelope, is now available in the compact desktop space.
Intel's new D945GCLF motherboard, based (intuitively enough) on the 945GC chipset, is now available from the British firm Tranquil PC bundled with the 1.6Ghz Atom 230 processor. It packs the standard complement of ports: a DDR2 slot, 2 SATA, IDE, a PCI slot, Intel GMA950 graphics, USB, Firewire, surround sound, parallel, serial, and a pair of PS2 ports.
All this is available for 42 GBP, the equivalent of $83 and less than the cheapest such bundle for the aging C7, which the Atom is all but certain to outperform. At least until Isaiah comes out, Intel's manufacturing prowess appears to have won them a nice victory here. The Atom combo is, at the price, probably the most compelling Mini-ITX motherboard and processor available, and should find its way into a lot of compact builds.
We intend to examine Atom's performance in the relatively near future, hopefully accompanied by retail performance numbers for the highly awaited, yet unavailable, VIA Isaiah. Hopefully we'll see Isaiah in the wild soonâ€”a strong mini-ITX push from Intel could popularize Atom as the next-generation mini-ITX CPU. Such a move would damage VIA's niche sales further, and ironically push them out of a market they themselves pioneered back in the early days of the C3.