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Intel intros 2GHz Atom

Expect to see it in notebook-not-netbooks shortly

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Intel has announced a 2GHz Atom processor, as expected, along with a lesser part with on-board auto-overclocking.

Both new Atoms form part of the Z series of chips, all aimed at handheld internet tablets rather than netbooks. That said, while there's currently almost no demand for said palmtops, the new boys will surely find themselves in mini-laptops in the meantime.

Especially the Z550 with that headline 2GHz clock speed. Consuming less than 3W of power, the part incorporates Intel's Hyperthreading technology to allow it to appear to the host operating system as a pair of processors.

The Z550 was announced by Intel mobility chief Anand Chandraseker at the chip giant's much-reduced Beijing Intel Developer Forum, the once international event rendered locals only by the recession. Chandraseker also unwrapped the Z515, a lower end Atom but one able to be revved to 1.2GHz on an as-needed basis.

This Burst Performance Technology is described as enabling "the processor to run at 1.2GHz when performance is needed". Since the the Z515 sits between the existing 1.1GHz Z510 and the 1.33GHz Z520, we'd expect it to run at 1.2GHz anyway.

That suggests BPT is nothing more than a new name for SpeedStep, which drops the CPU frequency below peak when the OS think it can get away with it.

The new Z-series parts' other speeds and feeds - L2 cache size, frontside bus and so on - have yet to be made public by Intel. Ditto pricing. ®

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