back to article Intel lets slip first dual-core Atom

Intel has quietly introduced its first dual-core Atom processor, the 330, and a new motherboard to go with it. The 45nm 330's a low-power part and - as the lack of an 'N' prefix shows - it's a desktop chip. Intel didn't say what clock speed the chip is set to - higher than the 230's 1.6GHz, we'd say, but it's not certain. The …

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Anonymous Coward

Atom on the desktop?

What's the point? Its an underpowered piece of junk which is just about tolerable for mobile equipment, but for the desktop? You'd have to be a moron to buy one.

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Alert

Four (logical) Are Not Always Better Than Two

As many desktop applications are still not optimized for quad core CPUs, we may have a similar picture as with Pentium Ds if dual-core Atom kept HT. Standard Ds had two cores and disabled Hyper-Threading, while Extreme Editions had HT enabled. Since Windows XP can't tell a logical from a physical core, the OS would often assign a two-threaded process to one physical and one logical core, which made Extreme Editions perform worse than standard Pentium Ds (where the app would always run on two physical cores), so while HT is the redeeming feature of standard Atoms, it may be wise to disable the feature on the dual core variant.

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Anonymous Coward

Ummm....

So, despite there being neither a mobile version announced nor any stated intention of a netbook manufacturer to produce a UMC based on this chipset, SCC early adopters "wish they'd waited"? I believe you've forgotten to add the asterisk for the "May in fact be a complete fabrication" footnote for that byline (which, increasingly, seems like it should be applied to journalism as often as "may contain nuts" is applied to food packaging...)

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Anonymous Coward

Are you sure its a 945GX?

When the product name is D945GCLF2.

Me thinks typo and you meant 945GC?

230 is desktop, N270 is mobile... I'd wager this will be known as the 330 and a mobile variant as the N370 with a lower 5W TDP.

Even so it's a shame about the 945GC chipset, still a power hog next to the Atom, I'd much rather see the 945GSE mobile version used, even for a few £ more in cost.

http://processorfinder.intel.com/List.aspx?ProcFam=3008

And to John Naismith above, Atom is actually a great thing, low power chip which is cheap and good enough for basic tasks. It's never going to power a full on desktop, what people mean is that it will end up in Nettops and other basic duties. In fact it's pretty useful for home servers, firewall boxes and other types of (mainly enthusiast admittedly) tasks, due to the reasonably low power and cost. It has also made a new class of laptops (the SCC) a lot more practical by helping battery life a great deal (EEE 901 lasts 6+ hours). Furthermore it is suitable for the developing nations market, who need low cost simplicity in preference to performance.

I'm not going to pull my punches - you John Naismith are the moron for being so blind you can't see the good uses and separate them from things which the Atom is not intended for.

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Hmmmmm.....

I wonder is this the new standard to run Windows 7...

Looks like my pocket will get shafted again!

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Paris Hilton

Yeah But

Yeah but , since Tom's hardware showed the much slower and larger 1 gig clock speed AMD Athlon 64 2000+ was actually a superior chip in both energy and speed usage to either Atom chip on public offer , this explains much about Wintel needing to speed things up to pass it's smaller rival in the latest propaganda stakes !

Choices , truth or propaganda that be the question ?

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Alert

may contain nuts

yes I actually did get a pack of nuts with that on it...

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Not very compelling in the slightest

Intel Atom: An underspecified CPU hobbled by a God awful chipset - the recently released AMD 64 2000+ beats the Atom hands down in terms of overall power consumption and comes with a vastly superior chipset. I'm struggling to understand how Intel thinks they can even hope to compete with ARM with this design when even AMD has them beat.

And as others have pointed out, is this brain-dead chip really needed in a desktop computer? I can see the merits of where they are headed in the mobile space, but for the desktop? Why not just undervolt/underclock a standard part as AMD have done?

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Unhappy

Chipset still the boat anchor here

So because the chipset is burning so much whale oil, it doesn't cost much more power to toss in additional CPUs?

Do not disable HT on this beast as its singlethreading performance sucks. Instead don't run WinDos on it.

When can I get a dozen atoms in a 1U server please?

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Boffin

AMD? ARM? Nope.

With 4 logical cores I imagine it'd work fine for video decoding/encoding. Just don't picture this thing on your desktop -- imagine it in a small plastic case about the size of the Wii underneath your TV.

Now to the AMD folks, that Athlon 64 2000+ is 3x the die space of the Atom they compared it to. As such the Atom should cost significantly less per chip. Given Intel's choice of such a chipset, price is probably a higher priority than performance /or/ power consumption. Nevertheless, AMD should be applauded for the 2000+. If they can produce it cheaply and still make a profit they might be able to compete with the Atom with it in some of the same markets.

As for the comment about ARM, I don't think they're who they're targeting. ARM doesn't sell processors, they license intellectual property that other manufacturers can integrate into their own chip designs. Obviously that puts Intel's Atom in an entirely different category, at least until they start integrating full wireless chipsets or selling Atoms custom ordered with areas that folks like Qualcomm can fit their own IP into.

No, Atom was designed to be a cheap x86 from the ground up, with power as a close second in terms of priority. It isn't meant to compete with ARM or AMD, but with VIA.

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@Jonathan Tate

Correct that ARM (the company) are design only, but ARM is also the derivative name for ARM-based chips from TI, Samsung, nVidia etc. etc. and these ARM CPUs have way better power consumption. Intel Atom will be eventually target (if it isn't already) the ultra mobile space - small internet devices running Moblin - but they won't compete with the ARM based products until Intel cut the power requirements by an order of magnitude or two.

Atom was designed to compete - eventually - with ARM designs, but they're a long way from that right now.

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Linux

Sounded good, until they mentioned the motherboard

The Atom processor is a perfect decent CPU for web browsing, email, showing friend's my holiday snaps, etc. It doesn't need any more performance. It is also cheap with the motherboard and CPU being sold together. But what it needs is a fanless motherboard to go with the fanless CPU to cut the noise down.

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Thumb Up

Re: AMD? ARM? Nope.

Quote: "imagine it in a small plastic case about the size of the Wii underneath your TV."

Yep. I am imagining it... And salivating. I already have a box (slightly bigger than Wii) behind my TV. It is a Linux P3 with Nvidia in a Antec Cube case. Replacing the guts with a dual core Atom sounds like an extremely tempting proposition. Same for the media storage box (another Linux P3 with 2+TB of disks sitting in the loft).

While Atom does not look like anything particularly stellar for the desktop it should do the job better than the alternatives by Via. While Via motherboards are better suited for both media and small storage (more IO ports) they are nearly twice the price. So if this new Atom is priced as competitively as the current Atom MBs it will be very hard to resist the temptation.

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Silver badge
Coat

@"May in fact be a complete fabrication"

But every working CPU is a complete fabrication -- the incomplete ones don't work!

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re: Not very compelling in the slightest

If AMD made a 1GHz x2 at 16W, I would go for that, but AMDs biggest problem has been they don't know what to do with what they have. So Atom's looking pretty good to me. Will there be a board with DVI?

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Go

Atoms, Chipsets etc.

If you want something low power then you'd be better off waiting for Atom boards with the US15W chipset eg Kontron's KTUS15/mITX ( http://tinyurl.com/6j6loa ) in 1.1GHz or 1.6GHz flavours. It looks like it'll be using the Z series Atoms so you can expect a TDP of about 5W for the Atom + chipset so no fans required.

@Anton : you can still get PCI slot Rocket Raid cards - RAID 0,1,10,5,JBOD - with 4 SATA II ports for your media server upgrade, 6TB raw file space - sound interesting ?

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Dead Vulture

Desktop Use, Mobile XP O/S?

Is this another inexpensive way to continue selling Windows XP? Seems so, Could Be Snappy XP or maybe its just inexpensive.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.

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