Intel adds two new Atoms for netbooks

The chipmaker extends the Atom range, popular in netbooks, and demonstrates the upcoming Moorestown platform using the chip at IDF in Beijing
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Intel on Wednesday introduced two new Atom processors for mobile internet devices, or MIDs, such as netbooks, and demonstrated an upcoming Atom-based netbook platform that it said significantly cuts power usage.

The Atom processor powers many of the netbook PCs that have proven popular in recent years, such as Asus's Eee. Demand is such that, in March, Intel announced it would begin outsourcing Atom production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) in order to increase the chip's availability.

The two new processors, the Z550 and Z515, include performance enhancements. The Z550 runs at 2GHz — the fastest yet for an Atom chip — and supports Hyper-Threading, a technology designed to allow more calculations to be carried out in parallel. The chip is the highest-performance processor running at under three watts of power, Intel said.

The Z515 is aimed at conserving power in hardware with small and light form factors. It uses a technology called 'Burst Performance' that allows it to run at 1.2GHz when higher performance is needed, for short periods.

Also on Wednesday, Intel's Ultra Mobility Group general manager Anand Chandrasekher gave the first demonstration of Moorestown during a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing. Moorestown is an Atom-based platform set for release next year.

When idling, the platform uses 10 times less power than Intel's current Atom-based platform, Intel said. This is achieved through the use of new power-management techniques and a more advanced manufacturing process, the company said.

Moorestown features a system-on-a-chip that has an Atom processor core manufactured using Intel's 45nm process. This is integrated with a graphics, memory and video controller and an input/output hub.

Recently introduced netbooks using Atom include Samsung's N120 and Dell's Inspiron Mini 10.

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