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Intel Splits Its Atom With New Release

SAN FRANCISCO -- Act II for Intel's newest chip is happening sooner than many may have expected. Today at its Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Intel unveiled the next generation of its Atom embedded processor, a dual core offering with features from Intel's Core 2 line. Atom debuted this past April.

The new Atom 330 is a 45nm design with a 533MHz bus and support for up to 2GB of memory. Its clock speed and cache size have not been disclosed yet. In addition to the chip, Intel announced the D945GCLF2 Essential Series motherboard, which integrates a microprocessor, chipset, motherboard and heat sink all into a single unit.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has not disclosed the clock speed or cache size, but the single core systems have been 1.6Ghz with 512MB of L2 cache. One thing that has changed is the core. The chip will have HyperThreading technology, so it will appear as a four-processor system. Its power consumption is around eight watts.

The board and processor are designed for entry-level computer users in the emerging markets, customized systems for unique vertical usage, such as Internet kiosks, thin clients or point-of-sale systems. The hardware is expected to ship around September.

There are two lines of Atom processors, with and without N in their product name. Those with the N, like the N230, are used in netbooks, while those without are used in nettops and embedded systems. So far, there are no plans for an Atom N330, only for a regular Atom 330.

The new motherboard will fit into any mini-ITX case and will include Intel's integrated graphics as well as gigabit Ethernet and pairs of Parallel and Serial ATA connections for storage. There will also be a PCI slot for custom configuration.

The new processor and mainboard are scheduled for launch in September.

Up next: Moorestown

In other embedded news, Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of the ultra-mobility group at Intel, said that the company has begun making silicon samples of Moorestown, the successor to the Menlow platform, of which Atom is a part.

Chandrasekher said Moorestown will combine a processor, graphics processing unit and memory controller on one chip that will be 50 percent smaller than the previous generation and energy efficiency will be improved up to 10-fold. He said Moorestown will be available by 2010.