Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

Summary: Netbooks may not be the hot product they were in their 2009 heyday, but there's apparently still new life to be squeezed from the little laptops. Fudzilla is reporting that Intel is readying dual-core Atom processors—Atom, of course, being the CPU that's powered most netbooks to date—that will be shipping in systems come the third quarter of 2010.

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Netbooks may not be the hot product they were in their 2009 heyday, but there's apparently still new life to be squeezed from the little laptops. Fudzilla is reporting that Intel is readying dual-core Atom processors—Atom, of course, being the CPU that's powered most netbooks to date—that will be shipping in systems come the third quarter of 2010.

While netbooks were by design not built to be performance powerhouses, that didn't stop consumers from snapping them up and then being disappointed when their single-core processors and 1GB of RAM couldn't let them do all of the things that a conventional laptop could let them do. Intel hopes to overcome that problem with the forthcoming N550 dual-core Atom processor (each core running at 1.5GHz), which should be packaged in netbooks arriving for back-to-school purchase.

You may still only get a gig of RAM, but N550 supports DDR3 memory, so that should provide a performance bump. Others specs may stay similar to currently available netbooks, like a small solid state drive (20GB or 32GB) or a larger, though slower, 250GB hard drive. Intel is limiting netbooks using the N550 to screen sizes between 7 inches and 10.2 inches, so you shouldn't expect anything like 11.6-inch dual-core netbooks.

Of course, the recommended pricing will increase will the introduction of the new processor. While many netbooks have been priced at $299, Intel is suggesting prices for the new systems will range from $349 to $399. For that price, you'll get improved multitasking and support for apps that make use of multicore processing. Is that enough to make netbooks an attractive alternative to dual-core budget laptops with bigger screens and price tags only slightly higher? Let us know what you think in our Comments section.

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Mobility, Processors

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14 comments
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  • I'm sick of all this moaning about netbooks

    It seems all coverage of netbooks on this site is in one direction. As if they are the bane of everyone's life, as if they are about to become massively unpopular. The opposite seems to be the rule for the iPad; nothing but glowing coverage, as if it's going to "beat" the netbook somehow... As if they aren't in completely different markets.

    400 is a tad on the expensive side. Netbooks got popular because they put computing power in the hands who could not otherwise afford one - that's still a really big market. A really really really big market.
    james.faction
    • Netbooks are finally catching on in developing countries

      @james.faction

      But it seems that products are only a big deal on these blogs if they're doing well in the US market. Netbooks are exactly the right device to drive up PC adoption in the emerging markets. And when you contemplate the fact that emerging markets make up two thirds of the global population and have been key to growth in the PC industry over the last few years, it becomes clear that netbooks don't need the US market for the devices to succeed beyond expectations. In some emerging markets, netbooks have already become more popular than full sized laptops and prices are still falling. So much for the predictions of death for netbooks.

      I agree with you about the pricing. In order for these new devices to become popular in developing countries, they need to be cost below $300 within the countries where they are to be sold. The sweet spot would be at around $200.
      eMJayy
  • Yes, I would buy another one!

    I have an Acer Aspire One and its power surprised me when I installed Turbotax on it. Starting up TT was a bit slow as compared to my much more powerful desktop, but I was able to move from screen to screen with no noticeable lag. For those who understand the pros and cons of a small notebook like a netbook, it can satisfy many computing needs. If you need a full power computer, buy one.
    mstrsfty
    • RE: Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

      @mstrsfty About the only thing that bugs me at all is mine could be a little better with streaming video. It will play the free low end games found at many web sites. When if I purchase another I guess I might go for a duel core but I'm not hurting now.
      deowll
  • RE: Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

    I have bought my wife 2 of them in the past 15 months. The first being kind of slow and clunky and then this past October I bought her a more "sexy" one with a much longer battery and a few better specs. I of course wasn't happy that newer Atom processors were then released later in October. I've been wondering if they would ever release a dual core because the Nettop I put together for one of my children was of course a dual core. I'm happy to see it and hope that I have extra money when these are released.<br>There is a beauty to buying these netbooks because the technology continues to get better. Consider a few specs on the one I purchased 9 months after the first. A 7 hour battery instead of 4, bluetooth was now included, wireless N was now included, and the price was $50 less! I always buy the slightly better ones or at least one that has very good specs so $399 is on par with what I would pay. As long as that $399 gives me bluetooth, wireless N, and at least a 7 hour battery.......looks like the wife is getting yet another upgrade!<br><br>I agree with the moaning comment too. We understand what all you "smart" blogging people think! Give us your opinion maybe twice and then shut the hell up about it, you don't have to harp on it and mention that thought in EVERY blog you do!
    SteelTrepid
  • Find out when in Q3. In time for back to school?

    Provide a little value add why dont you. sheesh
    Johnny Vegas
  • Don't Like Limited Screen Sizes

    It should be illegal for Intel and Microsoft to limit the screen size and other specifications of computers that are built with these Atom processors. Why is this practice allowed?
    steve@...
  • Ditto for the "sick of moaning" over the netbooks...

    I am in a developing country and bought 3 to give Visual Studio 2008 with SQL Server 2008 classes. I don't play games much (if any), so it is OK with me.
    Roque Mocan
  • doesn't the low power feature of netbooks go against dual core?

    I have purchased two Dell Mini 10 Netbooks in the past year, one with Moblin (Ubuntu Linux) and the other with Windows 7 Basic and once I increased the ram to 2 GB both are great. The best feature of these Netbooks is the long battery life while still being very light weight while still having decent runtime performance for things like Office apps, email and surfing the web. A dual core processor isn't going to significantly improve performance but it would take a big hit on battery life. Why screw up a good thing? I have a 4 core PC on my desk, I can deal with anything that really needs crunching on my desk.
    balsover
    • RE: Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

      @balsover Not necessarily, often intel is able to improve without increasing current drain. I have found dual core to be a significant improvement in performance.
      DevGuy_z
  • RE: Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

    Nope, I will use my self-souped-up Dell Mini-9 (dual booting Ubuntu-Netbook and Windows XP) for at least 5 or 6 years before I upgrade!
    jerry.straight@...
  • Never mind the price - where's the Serial Port?

    The situation is more obvious in developing countries, but it happens worldwide: the need to support LEGACY technical equipment. That means RS-232 serial ports, and (sometimes) even Centronics Printer ports.

    With old equipment working, needing only minor repairs, it's ridiculous to suggest replacement. Consider thousands of dollars worth of gigaswitches / routers in a small business - with a serial port for diagnosis & configuration changes. This is an area where a Cheap Netbook could SHINE.

    Personally, I'd prefer a 12-inch display to ease eye strain. Battery life is good, but nothing survives a 22 hour flight from Sydney to LA without a recharge. DVD burner - meh, that can go in checked luggage. Once I get to a remote site, however, that Serial port Absolutely Positively Has To Be There, or the netbook is worthless.
    alan_r_cam
  • Doesn't the Asus 1201n have already a Atom Dual core?

    and a 12'' screen ?
    glass@...
    • RE: Netbooks running dual-core Intel Atom processors coming in Q3. Would you buy one for $399?

      @glass@...

      yes but that's not the Atom processor we want the 1201n has a Atom N330 we want the new D500 series Atom processors
      LP212