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Netbook makers point to H2 '09 for dual-core mobile Atom debut

Year's wait ahead

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Don't expect a dual-core Atom-based netbook until next summer, manufacturers of Small, Cheap Computers have warned.

This week, Asus chief Jerry Shen promised his company would offer a dual-core Eee PC whenever Intel ships a dual-core Atom suitable for mobile devices. The chip giant, he indicated, has not said when this will be.

However, earlier MSI's US sales supremo, Andy Tang, revealed in an interview with Laptop Magazine that "Intel is holding off on the mobile version of the dual-core Atom processor.

"I don’t think we will see availability of that processor until the second half of 2009," he forecast.

Intel has now begun selling a dual-core Atom, the 1.6GHz 330, but it's a desktop part and consumes way more power than would be suitable for an SCC sized around, say, an 8.9in screen.

The 330 consumes 8W of power - the 1.6GHz N270 found in most SCCs consumes just 2.5W.

Hopefully, the dual-core Atom will debut with a more compact, less power-hungry chipset than the 945GSE that today's mobile Atoms come with. It consumes up to 6W - more than double the power demand of the CPU it's paired with.

There's another reason for waiting: the dual-core mobile Atom will be based on a next-gen core, codenamed 'Pineview', which 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.

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