Portable dual-core Atom chip due?

March 10, 2010 | 10:16

Tags: #atom #dual-core #intel-atom #netbook #nettop

Companies: #arm #intel

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.
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