Double your netbook power with new dual-core Atoms

Dual-core Atom N550 processors can re-ignite netbooks' popularity & expand possibilities for other mobile computing platforms

Intel has launched the Atom N550 today--its first dual-core Atom processor. The next-generation Atom processor boosts the power and capabilities of smaller mobile computers--providing businesses with even more cost effective options for portable computing.

The Atom N550 processors is available on the shelf as of today in a dozen or so different netbook models. The manufacturers that are already on the dual-core Atom bandwagon include Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba.

The Atom was designed by Intel to provide a more energy-efficient alternative to the Celeron-M processors that were being used in netbooks at the time. The launch of the Atom made the netbook a more powerful mobile computing platform and basically ignited the explosion of the netbook market.

"In their short history, the netbook category has experienced impressive growth," said Erik Reid, director of marketing for mobile platforms at Intel. "Having shipped about 70 million Intel Atom chips for netbooks since our launch of the category in 2008, there is obviously a great market for these devices around the world."

As the high end of notebooks -- the larger and more powerful cousins of the netbook -- evolve from dual-core to the more powerful quad-core processors, the Atom N550 moves the diminutive netbook platform into the dual-core era. The Atom N550 processor runs at 1.5GHz, and includes support for DDR3 memory as well.

Netbooks are the first out of the gate with the new Atoms -- and the netbook market represents the most obvious benefactor of the transition to dual-core processing -- but there are wider applications for the new Intel processors as well. The more powerful processor also opens the possibility of dual-core smartphones and tablets as technology continues to migrate to mobile platforms.

Intel's work with Nokia to develop the Meego mobile operating system, and its purchase of McAfee to provide better security for connected devices of all shapes and sizes also hint at what may be on the horizon for Intel.

Companies that want to provide employees with portable computers, but don't need mobile users to have top-end computing power can explore the possibility of deploying dual-core netbooks rather than full-blown notebook PCs. Even single-core netbooks are capable of completing the vast majority of tasks that mobile workers might need to perform.

Netbooks are smaller and lighter than notebooks, making them easier to lug around while on the go. They also have significantly better battery life than typical notebooks--lasting six hours or more on a single charge. And, let's not forget that netbooks are generally much cheaper than typical notebook PCs.

Smartphones and tablets have pushed netbooks to the back of the mobile computing bus, but those platforms have limitations and sometimes mobile workers need a "real" computer. The Atom N550 processors bring dual-core power to netbooks, and expand the possibilities for computing on the go.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hardware systemslaptopsintelnetbook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments


Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >


Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >


Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?