INTEL HAS FINALLY unveiled its dual core mobile Atom N550 processor and the netbook manufacturers are jumping at the chance of getting something new into the market. However, don’t expect to see a raft of new designs, as instead it’ll be pretty much the same old chassis with slightly different bits inside.
All the big brand names are prepping to launch new models, with some being available from today and others launching later in the year. Intel’s press release states that Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, Toshiba and “others” are readying new products with the N550 processor.
The Atom N550 is the slowest of all mobile Pineview Atom processors in terms of pure clock speed, as it comes in at a mere 1.5GHz, although the extra core should more than make up for the slightly slower clock speed. The N550 also has hyper-threading which should help boost the overall performance in some scenarios as it can handle four threads at once, a first for a mobile Atom processor.
It’s likely that the cooling would’ve had to have been changed on some of the chassis that the Atom N550 is going into, as it has a 2W higher TDP compared to the hottest of the single core mobile Atom processors. Cooling isn’t going to be a huge problem, even with a TDP of 8.5W, especially when you consider that companies like Asus have been cramming the old Atom 330 (CPU only TDP of 8W) and Nvidia’s ION into netbooks, although slightly larger 12-inch models.
Unlike previous attempts at dual core netbooks using desktop Atom processors, the Atom N550 features support for all of Intel’s Enhanced SpeedStep which will help when it comes to untethered usage. In fact, Intel claims that the N550 offers the same battery life as a netbook with an Atom N450 processor.
The big question that remains unanswered is how much Intel will charge for the Atom N550, as the N455 and N475 both have an official list price of $75, while the dual core desktop Atom processors are priced at $63. Intel has yet to add any pricing to its Atom N550 product spec, but it’s likely to end up very close to $100, considering that the single core desktop parts are priced at $42 and $43 respectively which means that there’s a $20 price premium on the dual core models. Applying the same logic to the N550 we end up with a price of about $95 making it the most expensive consumer focused Atom processor to date.S|A
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