Intel is readying the next phase in its Atom journey

The tiny Atom processor is somewhat of an enigma over at Intel. In mid-July, Intel CEO Paul Otellini was quoted as saying, "[Atom] is less than a third of the performance of our Centrino [high-end mobile processor]. You’re dealing with something that most of us wouldn’t use."

However, Intel's Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith reported a week ago that, "Atom is off to a very, very rapid start, far exceeding our expectations when we started the year. It's the perfect recession product to have in the marketplace." The fact that Intel can extract 2,500 Atom processors from a single silicon wafer makes for some pretty hefty profit margins and could be the reason why Intel's CFO is singing a different tune than the CEO.

Regardless of what internal opinion of the Atom processor is at Intel, the roadmap for the processor is moving forward and the next stop is the dual core Atom 330 desktop processor. Like its Atom 230 sibling, the Atom 330 is based on Intel's 45nm fab process and will incorporate HyperThreading technology -- in the case of the Atom 330, the processor will appear to have four cores within the operating system.

According to Register Hardware, the dual core Atom 330 processors will be soldered onto Intel's upcoming 945GX-based D945GCLF2 motherboard which supports up to 2GB of DDR2 memory.

Intel’s current Atom processors are in a number of products including the ASUS Eee PC and MSI Wind netbooks as well as ASUS’ Eee Box nettop.

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