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Intel Unleashes Dual-Core Atom N550

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People have been hankering after a genuine dual-core, netbook bound Intel Atom since...well...forever, and Intel has finally delivered in the shape of the N550. Clocked at 1.5GHz, this system on a chip has a 8.5W max TDP, is 64-bit capable, and adds support for up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Like previous Atoms, hyper-threading is supported, and the CPU is manufactured on a 45nm process.

Obviously adding an extra core should open up a significant boost in performance, and Intel is keen to point out the likes of YouTube and Hulu are now fully supported (i.e. won't judder to a halt playing HD), and that Flash of all kinds should run much more smoothly.

Intel's press info also touts models from Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, Toshiba and the other usual suspects as going on sale now, while also adding that the company has sold 70 million Atom chips since the launch in 2008.

According to DigiTimes, the chip giant will also be lifting the panel size restriction for these new chips. This means it's fairly likely we'll see 11.6-inch and 12.1-inch machines armed with dual-core Atoms, possibly competing with systems based on Intel's low-voltage Celerons and Pentiums. Perhaps more pertinently, it will allow Intel to compete with AMD's new Athlon Neo II processors and upcoming new netbook platform.

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