HP to consider VIA Isaiah and Intel Atom in HP Mini-Note refresh

Hp21333_270x187This info from Crave surprises me a bit. It’s a good article on why HP chose the VIA C7-M for the HP Mini-Note, although I question the opening phrase “HP chose a relatively obscure processor from VIA…” It’s only relatively obscure if you haven’t been following the UMPC market since inception. Since most consumers haven’t, I can see the point being made.So Crave spoke with Robert Baker, an HP product marketing manger, on why the C7-M. Looks like a matter of timing, cost, and price / performance ratio. Makes perfect sense from a business perspective, but here comes the interesting part: Baker indicates an interim refresh of the HP Mini-Note in about six months.

I take “interim refresh” to mean mostly under-the-hood changes, not an outside redesign. The VIA Isaiah chip is due out in the second-half of the year and since it fits the same socket as the C7-M, it would be the obvious choice. However, Baker says “if the Atom is the right processor, that’s what we’ll go with.”That’s the surprise to me for a few reasons. It would require more redesign and changes due to the different chipsets. And the Intel Atom isn’t geared towards powering notebooks, its focus is more towards MIDs running lighter or mobile optimized operating systems. I know many commenters are clamoring for the Intel Atom in the HP Mini-Note, but don’t get hung up on the potential 1.8 GHz clock speed. It’s an unproven chip where the clock cycles can’t be compared to current Intel CPUs on a equal basis. I have no doubt we’ll see Intel Atom-powered “netbooks”, but I suspect performance won’t be the strong suit of such a device. In any case, we’ll have to see how both of these chips, the Isaiah and the Atom, pan out in real world testing. Too early to tell, but well worth watching this develop.

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