The minute I read that Intel had launched their new dual-core Atom chip, my little netbook-crazed heart skipped more than the one beat. Then I read on and, before you do the same, you should know that the Intel Atom 330 is a nettop solution and is not set to cause a craze in the release of sub-notebook computers as we saw with the Intel Centrino 2 system and full-size laptops a month or so back.
This updated Atom motherboard and CPU solution is certainly nothing to be sniffed at though. The 330 chip may have the same 1.6GHz clock speed as its predecessor, the Atom 230, but it features HyperThreading technology that, with the addition of the second core, will make for a massively enhanced performance.
The HyperThreading allows for up to four threads of processing at any one time and the two cores can manage 512KB of L2 cache memory for a grand total of 1MB and all with just a slight increase in power usage on the 230. That should mean that the new chip will still keep your machine running quiet as a mouse in moccasins.
The new board is an upgrade of the D945GCLF2 which now comes with a complete gig of Ethernet, a six-channel HD audio and DDR-2 667 support – that’s up around 20% of the stats of the older DDR-2 533 potential across the board.
So what does all this mean. Well, I doubt we’ll see a massive burst of new computers but the Atom word will slowly spread throughout the specs and households of the Western world where consumers are looking for quieter, greener solutions for their everyday needs.
It may also mean that AMD and VIA get their act together before Intel runs away with the show. Both these two chip manufacturers have alternatives to the Atom 230, with the VIA Nano apparently out-performing it, but as yet no complete system solutions have come to light.
Instead, though, I sit and wait for next year’s upgrade of the netbook running N270 and the barrage of releases with dual-core Intel Atom N370 chips inside them.
(via Ars Technica)