Netbooks with Intel's dual-core Atom chip go on sale

Online retailers are selling Acer and Gigabyte Technology netbooks with Intel's new N550 processor

Online retailers have started selling netbooks with Intel's new dual-core Atom processor, ahead of official product announcements from PC makers.

Intel announced the dual-core Atom N550 netbook chip on Monday. The chip maker said netbooks with the new chip would become available immediately, but major PC makers have not announced products yet.

Intel has said the dual-core processor is faster than its single-core predecessors, which go into most netbooks today. Netbooks will run applications faster and play 720p video, an improvement over earlier models that struggled with high-definition video. Netbooks will remain as thin and light as existing models, and offer similar battery life.

The chip runs at a speed of 1.5GHz and has 1MB of cache. It draws up to 8.5 watts of power.

An Acer Aspire netbook with a 10.1-inch screen is being offered for US$399 on HSN's website. The netbook offers battery life of up to eight hours, according to the website, which is almost similar to the battery life of many single-core Atom netbooks.

The netbook comes with a 250GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, Wi-Fi capabilities and an integrated webcam. It comes with the Windows 7 Starter Edition OS.

An online retailer in Australia, Penta, is selling Gigabyte's GA-T1005M multitouch tablet PC for $905, a high price to pay for a netbook -- they are usually priced between $200 and $400. The tablet-style netbook comes with a 10.1-inch multitouch screen. It has a 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, webcam and Wi-Fi capabilities. The device weighs 1.48 kilograms (3.26 pounds) with a six-cell battery, and comes with the Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

A Chinese company, Timespad, is offering a netbook with an optional Atom N550 processor for bulk purchase on Alibaba.com. The netbook, priced between $285 and $305, comes with an 11.6-inch screen and an Nvidia graphics controller. The hard drive storage and memory capabilities are not specified.

PC makers are expected to announce products soon, with many possibly coming at the IFA show, which starts next week in Berlin.

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Tags hardware systemsdual corelaptopsintelacerGigabyte TechnologynetbooksAtom

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