Atom desktops to start at $199, sport dual-core processors

Word of Intel's low-cost "Shelton'08" desktop platform and "Diamondville" processors first slipped out of the rumor mill last September. Intel subsequently announced its official branding for both "Diamondville" and "Silverthorne"—Atom—and now the company has told the folks at the IDG News Service at what kinds of prices it expects "Diamondville"-based desktops to sell.

IDG says Intel expects Atom desktops to be fanless and to be designed for "basic tasks like surfing the Internet or viewing standard-definition DVDs." The machines should retail in the $199-250 range, roughly as much as the Linux-based Everex gPC that hit Wal-Mart stores last year (although the superstore chain now only sells it through its online store). Some Atom desktops—or "Nettops," as Intel calls them—will come with Linux pre-installed like the gPC, but others will run either Windows Vista Starter or Windows XP

Interestingly, IDG confirms that some Nettops will feature dual-core versions of the Atom processor. (We learned about dual-core Atoms earlier this week, when an Italian website showed a roadmap suggesting Intel had a 1.87GHz dual-core "Diamondville" processor in the works.) Dual-core "Diamondville" Atoms will be aimed at low-cost desktops, IDG says, while single-core "Diamondville" chips will slip into $250-300 notebooks. "Silverthorne" Atoms will be aimed at mobile Internet devices.

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