You may have seen some news over the last few days that Intel has started to ship a dual core variant of their Atom processor. To some of you that may sound like good news for the mobile world as nearly every new netbook seems to be running on Atom, and who doesn’t like a boost in performance? Well, as jkk points out, unfortunately the dual core Atom CPU is not for netbooks, they are actually for nettops, or low cost desktops.
In the beginning, there were two types of Atom chips, the kind that focused on low power consumption, low heat output, and small size, and the others (which we see in all the recent netbooks), focus on low power consumption, low heat output, and low price. Now the Dual Core chips present a new focus, which is primarily keeping prices low and performance high (relatively), or course keeping the low power consumption/low heat output out of the focus means that you have a CPU that isn’t suitable for a netbook, which has minimal cooling, and limited power to be consumed. For comparison, the Atom CPUs that we are used to seeing in netbooks, have a TDP of 2.5w, while the dual core version has an 8w TDP. So not only does that mean more power drain on your battery, but also there might not be enough cooling to keep the chip from overheating in a netbook.
On top of all of this, jkk says that he has gotten word that Intel is actually telling OEMs not use Dual Core Atom CPUs in netbooks. Looks like we’ll need to wait for the next round of Atom CPUs in order to see anything new for the netbook wave.