Dual-core Atom slips into $330 Acer netbook

Acer has made its refreshed Aspire One lineup official, and Engadget has all the gory details. The star of the show is the Aspire One AO255, which is available with a single- or dual-core Atom CPU. This netbook is only an inch thick, weighs "just over" 2.5 lbs, and is said to offer up to eight hours of battery life. You only get a 10.1" display, but the keyboard is 93% of full size. Total cost? $270 for the N450-equipped single-core model and $330 for the dually.

Neither AO255 derivative offers an upgrade over the Atom’s anemic integrated graphics processor. However, there are a couple of new Aspire One models with Radeon HD 4225 graphics. The AO721 and AO521 are based on AMD’s new Nile platform, and Acer has chosen to go with the single-core Athlon II Neo K125 for both systems. Rather than having CPU options, users can choose between two screen sizes: the AO721 has an 11.6" display, while the AO521’s screen measures 10.1 inches. Acer only expects you to squeeze six hours of battery life from these models, though. The AO721 has a suggested retail price of $430, making it a decent step up from the $350 10-incher.

The new Atom-based Aspires don’t seem to be available for sale just yet, but the others have already been discounted at Amazon. At the moment, the AO721 is selling for only $381, while the AO521 is down to $340. That’s a mighty tempting price for the 11.6" system. I just wish the dual-core Atom was being offered with a similar display.

Comments closed
    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    What’s the performance difference between the dual-core Atom and a single-core Athlon II? All other things being equal (and no 8hrs vs 6hrs means nothing to me), for a $10 difference I’d rather have the better graphics.

      • yuriylsh
      • 9 years ago

      I thought it is $60 difference ($270 and $330). Sounds like a little bit steep price hike for one additional Atom core…

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      The Athlon II also has an integrated memory controller instead of an extra borked up FSB, and you can get dual-core Neo laptops for $400-450.

      They could make them quad-core, but the Atom platform will still be just plain sluggish. Personally, I think these dual-core Atoms are nothing but a “Look at me!” attempt just before Bobcat/Fusion laptops start to show up.

        • LoneWolf15
        • 9 years ago

        It might be a tempting option, if you could add a Broadcom Crystal HD card to the dual-core version.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      The dual-core (previous gen) Atom nettops seemed a lot more responsive and acceptable for day-to-day usage than the single-core netbooks, but they may have been benefiting as much from increased memory and faster HDs.

      Still, for people who aren’t doing much more than email and web browsing, an Atom is fine. And a dualcore will make a difference when some background task kicks off (AV or whatever). The benefits rapidly decline as you add cores, but the marginal utility (aka creamy smoothness™) you get going from one to two is perceptible and valuable.

      For me, the screen size and resolution (and the generally crappy keyboards) is what kill any interest in netbooks.

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