Intel formally introduces the N550 dual-core Atom processor

Buying a netbook anytime soon? Look for those powered by the new Intel Atom N550 processor instead of the typical N450/N470 ones. This new rice grain-sized processor offers quite an improvement to the previous models performance-wise without much of an impact to a netbook’s battery life.



The new Intel Atom N550 (1.5GHz) processor does not only have two cores but it also supports Intel’s Hyper-Threading. With Hyper-Threading, the new N550 can process four threads (tasks) simultaneously for a much smoother computing experience. Oh yeah, the fact that it runs on DDR3 memory helps a lot too.

Support for 720p HD videos

Before, netbooks can’t properly watch 720p HD videos. The frames would just stutter. I tried the new Acer Aspire One D255 which has the Intel Atom N550 and viewed a 720p HD trailer in YouTube and it went smoothly. Bump it up to 1080p and you will then notice the jittery performance.

Still long battery life

TDP or thermal design power can also simply be explained as how much power a CPU can use. The lower the TDP, the less power-consuming it is. The early generation N2xx series Atom processor has a measly TDP of 2.5W. The N4xx series uses 5.5W to 6.5W while the dual-core N550 has a TDP rating of 8.5W.

Not much of an increase there and Intel reps told us that there’s only about a 30-minute decrease in battery life for a typical netbook as compared to when powered by an Intel N450 processor. Not bad for the performance gain you would get I’d say.

Netbooks running on the Intel Atom N550 processor

So which netbooks right now uses the new dual-core Atom processor? Here are some:

  • Acer Aspire One D255
  • ASUS EeePC 1015PEM
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3s
  • HP Mini 210
  • MSI Wind U160

Some of these models may have different processor configuration so always ask if there’s a configuration running the new Intel Atom N550 processor.

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  • Darkstar

    Intel core i3 530 has hyper threading, as per intel website

    • you are right. sorry about that. i was thinking of Turbo-boost which is available in the i5 and not the i3. my mistake. post has been edited and thanks for catching that.