Since day one, Intel’s Atom chips have come in two flavors: desktop and mobile. While the desktop chips have come in dual core and single core versions, the Atom chips designed for netbooks and other portable devices have traditionally been single core only. But it looks like that could soon change.
PC Inpact reports that Intel may be working on a dual core Atom chip for netbooks. It will reportedly be called something like the Atom N500, which makes sense, since the latest dual core chip for desktops is called the Atom D510 — and most of the company’s netbook-specific chips have started with the letter N, such as the Atom N270, N280, N450, and N470.
Up until now, any PC maker that wanted to build a laptop with a dual core Atom processor had to use a desktop chip such as the Atom 330 dual core CPU found in the Asus Eee PC 1201N. But those chips tend to draw more power and generate more heat than chips designed for netbooks.
Bear in mind, even with two cores, an Atom chip is an Atom chip. They’re designed as low cost, low power alternatives to beefier processors. As such, I’d expect the Atom N500 to be a little faster than a single core Atom processor and better at multitasking and other tasks which can benefit from multiple cores. But don’t expect miracles.
There’s no word on how much the Atom N500 would cost or when it would be released. And right now, this is just a rumor, although PC Inpact reports that the information comes from companies that work with Intel.