The Intel Atom chip is a low cost, low power consumption CPU line which primarily targeted low power storage servers, firewalls and various maker devices. The Atom CPU uses a different architecture and is compatible with all x86 systems, giving it the advantage over its lower power competition, the ARM CPUs.
There had be rumors swirling around in 2015 that Intel was killing off the Atom line, when Intel started creating the M series. This series became Intel’s go to chip for smaller, more mobile devices such as the surface pro and other 2 in 1 hybrids. While these chips allowed for a slew of fan-less devices and drove the market forwards with an emphasis on portability, the major downside was the high entry costs of this processer line. It directly contradicted what people enjoyed most about the Atom, which was a cost effective, low power solution to home servers, maker devices and firewalls. Thankfully however, Intel has squashed these rumors with the launch of its first processor in the C3000 series, the Atom C3338. This little dual core 9 watt CPU just launched is extremely cost effective. Intel has its recommended consumer price at $27. Aggressive pricing like this means Intel has clearly taken notice to the ARMs domination of the maker board phenomenon. While it does not have many features, support for up to 10 SATA drives and a dual core rated up to 2.2ghz would be sufficient for home lab projects.
The Intel Atom C3338 processor is the first of the C3000 series to launch, and with Intel promising up to 16 cores for future higher end models, it’s going to be an interesting next couple of months for power efficient chips.