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OEMs scramble to get their hands on Intel's newest mobile processors.

Intel specifically designed its new Atom processors to be as energy efficient as possible while at the same time being powerful enough to handle everyday tasks requested by consumers. Intel apparently struck a nerve with manufacturers as demand is currently outstripping supply for the inexpensive 45nm processors.

"We are working closely with our customers to meet their needs," said Intel spokesman Bill Calder. "We're just seeing better-than-anticipated demand."

Although Intel declined to comment further on the extent of any Atom shortages, ASUS CEO Jerry Shen estimated that Intel likely won't be able to satisfy demand for Atom processors until Q3 2008. Shen went on to add that his company is better prepared to ride out any hiccups related to Atom shipments in its Eee PC 900.

"Unlike our competitors, we use both Intel Atom processors and Intel Celeron M processors, so this will give us a stronger advantage in guaranteeing shipments," added Shen.

The competitors that Shen is likely talking about are devices like the ECS G10IL, the MSI Wind, and Dell’s entry into the field. All of these ultra-low-cost PCs called "Netbooks" will feature Intel's Atom processor and will compete with ASUS’ Eee PC 900.

Intel's Atom isn't the only new processors vying for the attention of low-cost notebook manufacturers out there. VIA is also actively courting OEMs with its new Isaiah processors which will replace the aging, under-performing C7-M. Early performance figures show that Isaiah simply obliterates its C7-M predecessor in ALU and FPU performance.

A VIA engineer has already stated that Isaiah processors will show up in within the next few months and Everex's CloudBook Max is another likely candidate for the new 65nm processor.

As prices for computing components continue to fall at a rapid pace, consumers are beginning to flock to notebook computers at an alarming rate. Notebooks, which were once reserved for high-end consumers and businesses due to higher pricing than desktops, have now dropped to price points under $400 for well-equipped machines.

The surge in notebook sales allowed the portable machines to overtake desktops in the consumer market during 2007.





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