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Portable dual-core Atom chip due?

Portable dual-core Atom chip due?

Intel's latest Atom chip is rumoured to be a low-power portable version of its desktop dual-core processors.

If you're hankering after a netbook with a bit more grunt, Intel might just have a trick up its sleeve you'll be interested in: a portable version of its dual-core Atom processors.

As reported over on French-language site PC Inpact - quoted and translated by Liliputing - Intel is believed to be working on a version of its dual-core Atom processors specifically for netbooks and other portable, low-power devices.

Believed to be due for release under the title N500, the new processor will be an ultra-low power draw version of the D510 dual-core processor the company has previously released for so-called 'nettop' devices.

While dual-core Atoms aren't anything new, this latest release would mark the first time Intel have cleared the way for OEMs to install one in a portable device. Previous dual-core netbooks - such as the Eee PC 1201N from Asus - have used the higher-power desktop parts, with a corresponding impact on battery life. If the company has worked on dropping the power requirements of running two cores, more OEMs should be tempted to give their system a boost with the new processor.

The question remains: just how much of a performance boost will netbook users see from a second physical processing core? The Atom chips are, by design, low-performance parts designed purely for low power draw - and nobody will be running the latest games on a netbook. While a second physical core can help with system responsiveness - especially when a process takes up all the resources on a single logical processor - it's remains to be seen whether the advantages will outweigh the increased power draw that a second core will bring.

Would the presence of a portable dual-core processor convince you to buy a netbook, or should Intel be taking a leaf out of ARM's book and concentrating on dropping the power draw to its bare minimum rather than attempting to stuff more cores into the processor? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

15 Comments

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rickysio 10th March 2010, 10:33 Quote
To be honest, they should do both. :D
legoman666 10th March 2010, 12:40 Quote
Quote:
While dual-core Atoms aren't anything new, this latest release would mark the first time Intel have cleared the way for OEMs to install one in a portable device.

Huh? My 1.5 year old Dell Mini 10 has a dual core Atom. Unless I'm misinterpreting the article...
Highland3r 10th March 2010, 12:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by legoman666
Huh? My 1.5 year old Dell Mini 10 has a dual core Atom. Unless I'm misinterpreting the article...

Reading the article it suggests that you have the desktop version of the Atom, not a mobile specific chip.
horse 10th March 2010, 13:06 Quote
Probably more likely that it's the single core part with hyperthreading enabled
Nexxo 10th March 2010, 13:15 Quote
I'd be more impressed if they'd finally design a chipset that does not belt out at least 4 times the Watts that the Atom does. Kind of misses the point.
Narishma 10th March 2010, 13:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by horse
Probably more likely that it's the single core part with hyperthreading enabled

That doesn't make sense as all the netbook atoms I've seen already support hyper-threading.
horse 10th March 2010, 13:24 Quote
that was my point, the mini 10 was only available with the single core part which will show two logical cores under Windows task manager
legoman666 10th March 2010, 13:45 Quote
I guess you guys are right, it's a single core CPU with hyperthreading. It's a Z530. wiki says HT single core.
RichCreedy 10th March 2010, 14:53 Quote
dual core as opposed to single core with hyper threading, i have built a couple of dual core atom machines, with the atom 330, which shows as a quad core in windows.
Madness_3d 10th March 2010, 17:59 Quote
I game, on my Ion, 270HT netbook. The Witcher, Medieval 2 Total war, KOTOR, TDU, Oblivion, GTA:SA, Far Cry, Stalker teh lot.

I have the 270 OC'd to 2.23Ghz with a custom bios
ANd the ION oc'd from core/shader 450/900 to 550/1207

Runs like a dream XD
l3v1ck 10th March 2010, 18:30 Quote
I wouldn't want an Atom anywhere near any hardware I own, dual core, laptop or otherwise. They just suck too much.
javaman 10th March 2010, 19:03 Quote
They need faster at the current power draw. Thats the problem with the portable market as a whole, a decent laptop is far from portable. I love my net book since I can carry it to uni, get 6hours+ battery life out of it but come bbc iplayer and it gets noticable frames dropped. 1gb ram doesnt help either. The current atom has hit the web browsing on the go market portion perfectly (mobile phones are pathetic for browsing tbh) The next stage should be low power 15" laptops in the £400-£500 range. A "netbook" with a 15" screen size would be perfect rather than the current breed in that range. Ultimately tho, those users need a slightly beefier processor and 2gb+ ram if thats to work. Quad core atom anyone?

On a side note, isn't the chipset a larger power drain than the processor itself? Surely that would be the best place to focus?
HourBeforeDawn 10th March 2010, 23:33 Quote
a dual core atom with hyper threading showing 4 cores, with the ability of HD playback would be very nice and make for an awesome portable media like center. ^_^
Elton 11th March 2010, 00:09 Quote
A dual core Atom would be quite useful, but at this rate the problem is that Atoms are simply still too weak.
Tyinsar 11th March 2010, 18:42 Quote
Since Atom clearly targets VIA's CPU niche, does anyone else think Atom was, at least partly, an attempt to kill VIA?

(Perhaps also killing a potential VIA / Nvidia partnership)
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