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Intel lets slip first dual-core Atom

SCC adopters wish they'd waited

IDF 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 part does sit on a 533MHz frontside bus.

Current 'Diamondville' Atoms, the 230 and N270, use HyperThreading to appear to the host OS as a pair of processors. Presumably, the 330 will use the same technique to appear as four cores.

Much depends on how it's implemented. If Intel stays true to form, the 330 will comprise two 230s in a single package. That would make for a largish chip, which could explain why there's no mention of a mobile version.

The 330 will come soldered onto Intel's new D945GCLF2 mobo, a mini-ITX board based on the 945GC chipset and GMA 950 integrated graphics. The board can take up to 2GB of 533MHz or 667MHz DDR 2 memory in a single slot.

It'll also boast Gigabit Ethernet, support for a pair of parallel ATA drives, two 3Gb/s SATA ports, six-channel HD audio, s-video out, and the ability to eight USB 2.0 ports, four of which are on the back panel.

The D945GCLF2 is due to ship in September, so it's a good bet the Atom 330 will too. And, quite possibly, a mobile version.

At IDF later today, Intel mobility chief Anand Chandrasekher will address the company's plans for ultra-mobile computing. Is a dual-core Atom for Small, Cheap Computers in the offing? Watch this space...

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