As if we didn't have enough Atom news lately, Panasonic has launched its Toughbook CF-U1 UMPC. This robust and rather ugly piece of machinery wouldn't be big news if it weren't the first, and thus far only, Atom Z520-based UMPC on the market.
Unlike the N270, the Z520 runs at 1.33GHz, 533 MHz FSB and has 512K Cache. Nothing spectacular in itself, but this Atom ships with Intel's SCH US15W chipset. Here's the good news, an Atom N270 coupled with a 945GSE chipset has a system TDP of 11.8W. The Z520 has a 2W TDP, the SCH US15W 2.3W, so this configuration has an impressive 4.3W system TDP, a three fold increase reduction in thermal dissipation, and significantly improved energy efficiency.
Panasonic's new Toughbook CF-U1 UMPC packs the new CPU and chipset, as well as a 16GB SSD, DVD burner, USB 2.0, LAN, WLAN, SD card slot, Fingerprint reader, 2.0 megapixel webcam and has a 5.6-inch 1024x600 touchscreen. It ships with either Vista Business or XP Professional, weighs 1.06kg and looks robust enough to survive a low yield nuclear blast at ground zero. It should retail at just over €2000, a far cry from those €300-€400 Atom netbook prices, but Toughbooks aim at a completely different, niche market, anyway.
We hope we'll see the new Atom chipset in more products soon, preferably in more affordable UMPCs, MIDs and anorexic netbooks.
You can find out more about the SCH US15W at Intel.com, here.