Next-Gen Netbooks to Get a Boost From New Atom Chips

If you’re in the market for a netbook, it’s a good time to pay close attention to Intel’s new N450 processor — and some remarkable deals on the mini-notebooks based on the chip. In conjunction with better keyboards, displays and other features, new technologies may cause many more people to take netbooks seriously.

The Atom N450 chip is one of several new offerings from Intel based on a 45nm manufacturing process, with better performance than previous Atom processors and lower power consumption, translating into better battery life. In PCMag.com tests, the N450 handled  multimedia better than previous Atom chips, partly due to a new graphics core, and ran more quietly.

Quite a lot of the new netbooks based on the N450 will start shipping in early January just before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. As Electronista notes, MSI has already released details on its new netbooks (shown above), as has Asus.

What really caught my eye, though, are the new Dell Mini 10 netbooks (at left) based on the N450. I’ve used a number of netbooks, and the Mini 10 is one of the best models around. Its keyboard is just shy of full-sized, and the new Mini 10’s display is capable of 1,366-by-768 resolution. You can get a Mini 10 running Windows 7, with a DTV tuner, for $399, or buy one for $299 with Ubuntu Linux.

Those are among the best deals on netbooks you’ll find in the next few weeks. You’ll have to wait until Jan. 4 for the Mini 10 and other N450-equipped systems to go on sale, though.

Images courtesy of MSI and Dell.

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