Netbook Performance Lagging? Intel Intros New Atom CPUs for Mobile

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Intel's original Atom processors, which power netbooks and are designed for mobile computers, couldn't deliver the performance available from Intel's other PC processors. But today Intel announced two new CPUs, the Z550 and Z515 designed to put more punch into Atom. Intel says they will serve the mobile internet device (MID) market.

Does that netbook need better performance? Intel today announced two new versions of its Atom processors that have powered for smartphones, portable computers, netbooks and mobile internet devices (MIDs). The Z550 and Z515 are both designed to deliver better performance than what’s currently available on the market.

Intel says these new processors will serve the MID market for "pocketable" portable computers that can be as mobile as the people who use them. According to Intel the Atom Z550 processor extends the performance of portable computers to 2GHz with Intel Hyperthreading technology, which Intel says is the highest performance processor in the under-3-watt power envelope.  Intel’s Atom Z515 processor leverages the Intel Burst Performance Technology, enabling the processor to run at 1.2 GHz when the performance is needed.

Intel’s Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, made the announcements at the Intel Developers Forum in Beijing today during a keynote address.

Chandrasekhar also demonstrated Intel’s next-generation Atom platform, codenamed "Moorestown," showcasing its greater than 10x idle power reduction compared to today’s Atom-based platform.  Intel says the Moorestown platform is due by 2010 and consists of a System on Chip (SOC) codenamed "Lincoroft" that integrates the company’s 45nm Atom processor core, graphics, video and memory controller and a companion input/output (I/O hub) codenamed "Langwell"

Intel says the platform will be accompanied by a new Moblin software version that optimizes the PC-like Internet experience together with mobile phone capabilities.

Intel's Atom processor faces an uphill battle in the smartphone market against processor designs from ARM Holdings which have enjoyed the dominant position for years.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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