updated 03:05 pm EDT, Mon March 10, 2008
Intel Atom Roadmap Leaked
Details have surfaced about the near future of Intel's Atom processor for handhelds, courtesy of a new leaked roadmap for the chips. Though Intel has only publicly acknowledged a 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor and alluded to others, the slip shows that Intel expects to spread the line to the high end in the near future. After the initial version, the semiconductor firm plans a 1.87GHz Atom 200-series chip; in standard form, it would be a direct upgrade with a faster speed but the same 533MHz bus and 512KB of Level 2 cache memory.
However, a new 300 series would also see the first dual-core Atoms with a 1.87GHz, Atom 300 processor. The upgrade could handle as many as four instruction threads at once through the use of Intel's HyperThreading, which can run more than one stream of instructions on a processor at once and prevent chips from idling unnecessarily during heavy work.
The leak does not immediately suggest a launch window for the Atom upgrades, though the speed points to a potential upgrade in the summer. It does reveal that the known 1.6GHz processor will ship to suppliers for $29 each in 1000-unit batches, making an expected ASUS Eee PC upgrade possible in the spring as well as other rivals planned throughout the year.