So here’s a little secret. Processors with dual cores aren’t necessarily twice as fast as single core CPUs. Or rather, they don’t necessarily perform tasks twice as fast, because that’s just not the way most software works. But still, you’d generally expect a dual core chip to handle some tasks better than a similar, single core processor. And you’d be right.
The folks at PC Pro recently ran a raft of benchmark tests on a computer with an Intel Atom 330, the first dual core Atom CPU from Intel. The chip has the same 1.6GHz clock speed as the Intel Atom N270 chip used in netbooks. But in PC Pro’s tests, it only performed 16% faster.
The dual core chip did best the N270 and a 2.0GHz VIA C7-M CPU in most tests (although it didn’t handle MS Office as well as either), but not by a lot. The one area where it really excelled? Multi-tasking performance.
Intel hasn’t yet officially announced plans to release a dual core Atom chip for netbooks. The Atom 330 is designed for desktops. But I’d be surprised if the company didn’t announce sometihng in the next few months. Perhaps in time for CES in January?