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Intel ships dual-core Atom

Sep 22, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

Intel says it is now shipping the promised dual-core version of its Atom processor. Designed specifically for the affordable desktop computers Intel calls “nettops,” the “Intel Atom Processor 330” has a 1.6GHz clock speed, 1MB of second-level cache, and an eight-Watt TDP, the company says.

Rather than announcing the Atom 330 on its own, the chipmaker leaked news of it during August's IDF (Intel Developer Forum), in the context of its new D945GCLF2 mini-ITX motherboard, pictured at right. The D945GCLF2 is an enhanced version of Intel's D945GCLF (“Little Falls”), an $80 product that made its debut in June with the then-new Atom 230 CPU.

Today's announcement provided additional information about the Atom 330 itself, confirming its rumored eight-Watt TDP, putting it within reach of passively cooled applications (seven Watts is often considered the threshhold, for applications with traditional heatsinks). Like the Atom 230, the Atom 330 uses 45nm technology, features a 533MHz frontside bus, and is designed to work with Intel's 945GC chipset (the 82945GC northbridge and 82801GB southbridge). Unlike the Atom 230, however, the Atom 330 features dual cores, plus second-level cache that has been doubled from 512KB to 1MB.

The D945GCLF2 mini-ITX motherboard has the Atom 330 onboard
Source: Intel
(Click to enlarge)

Intel still provides no performance claims for the Atom 330, nor have we yet seen any independent hardware tests. The CPU and 945GC chipset support DDR2 memory, according to the chipmaker, of which up to 2GB is available on the D945GCLF2 motherboard pictured in more detail above. The D945GCLF2, apparently currently on sale from a variety of online stores for approximately $90, includes gigabit Ethernet, S-video, six-channel audio, eight USB ports, and PCI expansion.

So far conspicuous by its absence? Any mobile-oriented dual-core version of the Atom, which, if and when it arrives, would carry an “N” prefix. We'll see if Intel marketers consider such a product worth releasing. In the meantime, a prime competitor for the Atom 330 appears to be Via's Nano. For further information, and a head-to-head comparison with the Atom 230 in Intel's “Little Falls” board, see our earlier coverage, here.

Further information

According to Intel, the Atom 330 is shipping now, and costs $43 when bought in quantities of 1,000 or greater. Meanwhile, the Atom 230 and N270 are priced at $29 and $44 per 1,000 unit shipments, respectively.

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