Contradicting rumors that dual-core Atom processors won't launch until the fourth quarter of this year, DigiTimes quotes its sources as saying Intel actually plans to start mass-producing the chips in the second week of July.
Atom-based desktops and laptops should first show up in June, but they'll all be based on single-core Atom CPUs with simultaneous multi-threading support. DigiTimes' report says the first dual-core Atom model will run at 1.6GHz and also support SMT, so it should be able to juggle four threads at once instead of two.
The report also claims dual-core Atoms will be pin-compatible with single-core models. Upgrading could therefore be as simple as updating the BIOS and swapping in the new chip, provided the platform can take the extra heat and power draw. The extra core will supposedly bump the CPU and chipset's thermal envelope from 12W to 16W.
Interestingly, the report mentions that PC makers think the short gap between single- and dual-core Atom launches could "dampen the introduction of single-core Atoms" and hurt sales of traditional entry-level platforms. A good number of companies have already announced laptops based on single-core Atom chips, though, so the dual-core models may have more of an impact in the low-cost desktop arena.
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