Dual-core Atom processors said to be on the way

Intel first announced its "Menlow" mobile Internet device platform and the accompanying "Silverthorne" processor almost a year ago, but the company hasn't said a peep about a dual-core version of the chip. However, according to a roadmap published by Italian tech site Notebook Italia, a dual-core Atom processor is in the works nonetheless.

The site's roadmap suggests Intel is cooking up a 1.87GHz 300-series Atom chip that will have two cores capable of juggling a total of four threads thanks to Intel's simultaneous multi-threading implementation. Considering the power efficiency implications of having two high-speed cores, dual-core Atom chips will presumably be targeted at low-cost desktops rather than handheld devices. Also, judging by "Silverthorne" die shots, dual-core Atoms could simply consist of two dies slapped together on a single package—much like Intel's quad-core desktop offerings today. Neither Intel nor Notebook Italia has revealed any additional details yet, though.

Atom is expected to roll out in commercial products next quarter. The Atom line will include both "Diamondville" processors targeted at low-cost desktops and "Silverthorne," which will be aimed at mobile devices. The Centrino Atom mobile platform (code-named "Menlow") will couple "Silverthorne" with a new chipset nicknamed "Poulsbo." Meanwhile, rumors suggest the platform that will play host to "Diamondville" will have plain old Intel 945GC or SiS 671 chipsets. (Thanks to Engadget for the tip.)

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