Tired of seeing the same old 1.6 GHz version of the Intel Atom? According to an internet report, soon there will be more numbers to pick from.
Hong Kong-based computer enthusiast website HKEPC (translated) reported that Intel will next month release two new Atom CPUs. One will be the Z550, which will bring the core clock speed to 2.0 GHz. It shall retain the same power characteristics as the 1.86 GHz Z540, thereby giving more performance per watt.
What remains to be see is how the new chip will affect pricing for the entire Atom line. As we’ve previously noted, the 1.86 GHz Atom chip costs twice as much as the 1.6 GHz version, which helps to explain why the latter model is the most popular -- it’s the fastest one can sensibly go before getting cost prohibitive in a budget-conscious machine.
The Z550 will likely be most often found on Intel’s US15W “Poulsbo” chipset, which supports 2 GB of RAM and adds some light acceleration for high-definition video decode while maintaining energy-friendly characteristics.
The second new Atom supposedly to be released is the Z515, which focuses even further on power-efficiency. The chip is to incorporate what is called Intel Performance Burst Technology, which can put the chip at 800 MHz or 1.2 GHz, presumably depending on multiplier on the 400 MHz FSB. How or if this related to Intel SpeedStep technology is still unclear. The Z515 is reported to have a TDP of 0.65W to 1.4W, depending on mode, making it a good candidate for MIDs.
The Z515 will be paired with the entry level “Poulsbo” chipset UL11L, which supports a maximum of 512 MB of RAM.
We’ll know more next month when Intel is expected to launch the new chips.