We get it - times are tough, and no matter how tempting it might be jump into a Core i5 / i7 setup, for some, practicality dictates holding on to the current platform and squirreling away any extra funds for a rainy day. Or you can use part of it to invest in Intel's upcoming dual-core E6600 processor and revel in the fact that you spent but a pittance for the fastest Pentium dual-core Wolfdale 45nm processor on the planet.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, Intel is still on track to release its 45nm E6600 on January 17, 2010, barely a month out of reach. And the best part? Barring any last minute curve balls from Intel, it should sit on retail shelves for a mere $84, which is what it costs today for an E6500. The E6500 is expected to drop down to $74.
That's not a bad bang for your buck if you're stuck using an LGA 775 platform. For not much more than a sit-down dinner and a movie for two, the E6600 brings to the table two processor cores clocked at 3.06GHz, the first wolfdale to breach the 3GHz mark, and push data through a 1066MHz frontside bus. It also boasts 2MB of L2 cache and a 65W TDP.
Asus said it was switching to Nvidia's Ion platform for future netbooks, and making good on that promise, the Eee PC maker on Thursday announced the Eee PC 1201N Multimedia Netbook.
Up until now, a multimedia netbook could be considered an oxymoron, if not a cruel joke, but that certainly isn't the case here. Pushing the boundaries between a netbook and notebook, the 1201N sports a 12.1-inch LED display and comes built around Nvidia's pixel-pushing Ion platform. That's great for graphics, but it doesn't stop there. Instead of the ubiquitous Atom N270 processor found in most netbooks, Asus equipped the 1201N with Intel's Atom 330 dual-core processor.
On the storage front, the new netbook comes with a 250GB hard drive and 500GB of online Asus WebStorage. The online storage space is provided for free for the first year, and after that, you'll have to pony up for a subscription plan.
Other specs include 2GB of DDR2 memory, Wi-Fi, three USB2.0 ports, a 6-cell battery good for up to 5 hours of run time, and Windows 7.
ARM today said it has developed a pair of Cortex-A9 hard macro implementations which will enable devices to operate at 2GHz, and beyond. To achieve the additional speed without disregarding power consumption, the new design calls for a 40nm manufacturing process.
"The Cortex-A9 MPCore processor has already been widely accepted as the processor of choice for high-performance embedded applications across a broad spectrum of demanding consumer and enterprise devices," said Eric Schorn, VP marketing, Processor Division, ARM. "ARM’s parallel development of advanced, optimized physical IP components demonstrates a new level of collaborative differentiation while enabling our Partners to expand their penetration into high margin domains traditionally occupied by proprietary architectures."
According to ARM, chips built on the new design should consume just 0.25W per processor. TSMC will likely end up producing the bulk of the 40nm chips, though any company can start licensing the technology.
Where chips based on the new design ultimately end up is anyone's guess. The Archos 5 current uses the Cortex-A8 chip, as does Apple's iPhone 3GS.
Acer's overhauled Aspire Revo 3600 nettop picks up where its predecessor left off. Like the original Aspire Revo, the new 3600 model supports HD video courtesy of Nvidia's Ion platform, but the latest iteration trades in the comparatively anemic single-core 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor for a 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330.
Right off the bat, doubling up on cores will come as a boon to anyone, um, aspiring to do more than basic tasks with the Aspire Revo. Other specs include 4GB of DDR2-533 memory, an HDMI port, and VESA mount compatibility.
Finding a dual-core netbook is a lot like looking for the Loch Ness Monster - you keeping hearing it exists, but no one's been able to prove it. According to a Japanese technology website, not only does it exist (a dual-core netbook, that is), but Shenzhen Weibu Electronics will "soon" have one for sale.
The upcoming netbook ditches the familiar single-core Atom N2xx processor for Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N330 chip with 1MB of cache. And the N330 supports hyper-threading as well. If that weren't enough, the new netbook will be built around Nvidia's Ion platform with integrated Nvidia 9400M graphics, just like those fancy MacBooks boast.
Other specs include 1GB of memory, a 150GB hard drive, webcam, and 802.11 g/b WiFi. And as one would expect, the N10A, as the netbook's being dubbed, will hit the wallet harder than existing netbooks to the tune of 49,800 yen, or about $530 USD. That starts encroaching on traditional 15-inch notebook pricing, but if other vendors follow suit with similarly spec'd machines, the next generation of netbooks could get awfully exciting.
Two new nettops based on Nvidia's Ion platform have been unveiled in Taipei this week, one by ASRock and the other by Pegatron Technology. ASRock's Ion 330 trades in the oft-used single-core Atom processor for a dual-core variant, the Atom 330 CPU (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus). Not much else is known about the PC, other than it comes with an integrated DVD optical drive.
Taking up a slimmer form factor, Pegatron's Cape 7 comes encased in white plastic and has four USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a power connector for an external power brick. It doesn't come with an optical drive, nor are there any details regarding the processor.
While these are some of the first dual-core Atom 330 based nettops to be spotted in the wild, they won't be the last. According to web rumblings, Nvidia expects around 40 Ion platforms to show up on the markt by the end of the year, some of which are bound to come with dual-core Atoms.
On the desktop front, quad-core processors continue to drop in price and it might not be long before dual-core chips get cast aside in the same manner single-core CPUs have been. But in the mobile world, it's another story. Dual-core computing is still where it's at and that doesn't appear to be changing in the next few months.
Citing un-named sources among mother makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch five low wattage processors intended for notebooks on December 28, and only one of them is a quad-core chip. Intel's Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.93GHz, 6MB, 35W) , P9600 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 25W), T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 35W), and T8700 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 25W) are set to debut to at $530, $348, $316, and $241 respectively in thousand-unit trays. Intel will also release a Core 2 Quad Q9000 (2GHz, 6MB, 45W) for $348 (also in thousand-unit trays).
At least one other processor will see a price reduction as a result of the new chips. The P8600 - Intel's current flagship Core 2 Duo CPU - will drop from $241 to $209 in January of 2009.
Back in June, we reported Intel's dual-core Atom processor had been postponed until September, and since that time, the company's single-core variant has enjoyed widespread success in the nettop world. Demand has been so high that there was speculation of an Atom chip shortage, ultimately prompting a response from Intel.
September has arrived, and as predicted, Intel has now officially begun shipping its 45nm dual-core Atom processor. Intel says the Atom 330 has been designed specifically for nettops. The new chip cranks out 1.6GHz per core supplemented by a very modest 1MB of L2 cache. The 8W TDP chip supports DDR2-667 and is being made available as an integrated package validated with Intel's 945GC Express Chipset.
Is this the chip you've been waiting for before picking up an ultraportable?
The ultraportable craze has been nothing short of ultra popular, and it might get even better next month. While Intel senior VP Pat Gelsinger was delivering his keynote during IDF on Monday, Cnet claims an Intel employee spilled the beans on the company's plans to offer up a dual-core Atom in September, a move that would make the Nettop market even more popular than it already is. Specifics weren't disclosed, but if earlier reports hold true, look for the new hyperthreading-capable chip to come clocked at 1.6GHz per core on a 533MHz front-side bus with 1MB of L2 cache.
Dunnington and Nehalem
On a more official note, Intel revealed plans to also offer its six-core Dunnington server processor in September, which will be the last member of Intel's 45nm Penryn family. And while on the topic of cores, Intel also showed the first eight-core Nehalem chip. Gelsinger said the new chip will be a monolithic design with all eight cores crammed onto a single piece of silicon. Tasty!
Intel’s dual-core Atom will see the light of the day in Q4 and is slated to be released on September 21, 2008, according to Fudzilla. It will be the first dual-core processor in the power efficient Atom family that has emerged as a popular powerplant for netbooks. The dual-core Atom 330 will set you back by $43, which is quite reasonable as the Atom 230 single-core processor is priced $29. The Atom 330 with its 1.6 GHz clock speed, 533 FSB and 1 MB L2 cache will be ideal for budget rigs. Once the Atom 330 release is out of the way, all eyes will be on the launch of 1.87 GHz Atom processors.