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Next-gen netbook Intel Atom due Q3 2009

Roadmap reveals dual-core CPU-GPU debut

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Intel's next-gen Atom processor for Small, Cheap Computers - the successor to today's 'Diamondville' - will debut a year from now, according to the chip giant's latest roadmap.

The chip, codenamed 'Pineview', will arrive in Q3 2009, according to long-term progress charts seen by Japanese-language site PCWatch.

Pineview is one form of 'Lincroft' the next revision of Intel's handheld-oriented CPU architecture, 'Silverthorne'.

Little is known about Pineview, but we can say that it will be made available in single- and dual-core versions as per Diamondville. Again, both will use HyperThreading technology to up the number of cores the operating system sees to two and four, respectively.

What will really differentiate Pineview from its predecessor, however, is set to be its integration of a graphics core and memory manager into the chip package if not the die itself.

Pineview will connect to its I/O chip partner across a DMI (Direct Media Interface) bus rather than a frontside bus, just like the upcoming 'Nehalem' desktop processors.

What's not clear at this stage is whether the dual-core version of Pineview will be made available in a form that's friendly for mini laptops. That doesn't appear to be the case with the dual-core Diamondville - the Atom 330 is expected to be aimed solely at desktops, as an alternative to the single-core Atom 230. So far, we haven't come across a dual-core upgrade to the single-core Atom N270 used in most mini laptops.

Whatever, Pineview will provide more of a challenge to VIA's new Nano processor than the 230 certainly has. And just to muddy the water for Small, Cheap Computer makers further, AMD is also preparing an Atom rival of its own, codenamed 'Bobcat', aimed at mobile devices.

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