Intel ships first dual-core Atom processor

Intel has begun shipments of the first dual-core version of the Atom processor.

Update on September 21 at 9:10 a.m. with pricing correction.

The single life for Atom is over--or at least one version. Intel said it has begun shipments of the first dual-core version of the Atom processor.

Tranquil PC T7-HSG Home Server uses the dual-core Atom 330
Tranquil PC T7-HSG Home Server uses the dual-core Atom 330 Tranquil PC

Atom 330 pricing information and data sheets for customers will go live Monday, according to Intel.

The chipmaker indicated at the Intel Developer Forum in August that it would be shipping the dual-core chip this month.

The power-efficient processor will be targeted at Atom-based desktops called nettops. Currently, Intel offers the single-core Atom N230 processor for this category of small desktops.

At 8 watts, the chip has a higher power envelope than single-core Atom processors. The N230 is rated at 4 watts, while Atom processors for mobile devices such as the Eee PC and Acer Aspire have a thermal envelope of 2 watts.

Other specifications include a core clock speed of 1.6GHz, 1MB of level-2 cache, and support for DDR2 667MHz memory.

It's available as either a package with the Intel 945GC Express chipset (which includes built-in graphics) or as part of the Little Falls2 motherboard, Intel said.

"This is not for Netbooks," an Intel spokesperson cautioned.

But caveats aside, computer makers will do with the chip as they please. And a few may venture to put the chip into a netbook or notebook design. One of the more compelling reasons would be the 8W thermal envelope--far below the standard 35W power envelope of mainstream Intel-based notebooks.

Another reason is price. At $43 in 1,000-unit quantities, this makes it the least expensive dual-core Intel processor, along with the dual-core Celeron processor, also priced at $43.

Note: the price was originally stated as $40. Intel lists the price as of September 21, 2008 at $43.

Tranquil PC, a U.K.-based PC supplier, has already been taking pre-orders for a home server based on the Intel Atom 330.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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