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.

via Blogeee

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10 replies on “Intel may be working on a dual core Atom chip for netbooks”

  1. I want as much power available as possible, provided it doesn’t cost me more than 10% of the currently great battery life.

    I got a netbook – several in fact – based on their amazing battery life and lightweight.

    But I sure would like to be able to run Skype AND a browser at the same time, without degrading VOIP quality, and I think the dual cores would do it more effectively than, say, boosting the processor speed of a single core Atom (i.e., the N470 isn’t a long term solution).

    I’m sure others have “light” multi-tasking goals as well, like listening to music while browsing, or downloading while continuing to browse.

    Dual cores would go a long way to solving this minor problem with current netbooks.

    Real question is whether CULV’s can do the job better than a dual core Atom – preserve battery life and not add too much additional cost.

  2. This is really great news. It’s restoring some of my confidence in Intel. Netbooks can fly, it’s just that nobody has built wings for it yet.

  3. They’re going to have to do something like this if they want to compete in the SOC space. They’re heading down into ARM’s market, and that’s a rather different and all together more rabid playing field than the more staid and traditional space they’re used to working in. We’ll see how it works out for them. I for one would love to see this chip paired with a descreet video card like the new IONS.

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