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Intel to Finally Make Money on Atom, Part 2

On Dec. 22, 2009, I wrote an article on TheStreet.com describing how Intel (INTC - Get Report) was finally making money on the Atom processor with its new (at the time) Atom N450. The basis of my argument was a press release from the company that "the new single core chip, called Atom N450, is about 60% smaller than present Atom processors and will require 20% less power."

It has come to my attention after searching Intel's Web site that the N450 has a die size of 66 sq. mm, much bigger, NOT 60% smaller, than its predecessor, the N230, with a die size of 26 sq. mm.

Why the smoke and mirrors? Intel has been on the defensive ever since The Information Network in January 2009 questioned whether Intel's slashed revenue of about $1 billion (for the fourth quarter of 2008 and first-quarter 2009) was because of its misjudging the success of the netbook and its Atom processor.

Paul S. Otellini, president, chief executive officer, and director of Intel, made the following statement during Intel's second-quarter 2009 (July 14) earnings call.

"Atom revenue grew a very strong 65% this quarter, reflecting a bit of a snap-back after the inventory correction we saw in late Q4 and in Q1," which suggests to me that Intel conceded to The Information Network's allegations.

Based on new size information, I need to recalculate Intel's revenue for the netbook market. A 300mm wafer will make 1,071 of the new N450 Atoms vs. 2,716 of the old N230. Based on a price of $64 for the N450 and $29 for the N230, each 300mm wafer will generate $68,500 for the N450 and $78,800 for the N230.

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