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Dual core netbooks- the 10″ mini laptops to consider this year

By Mark , updated on June 4, 2014

Netbooks are not famed for having great hardware, but are mainly appreciated for their portability and autonomy. For the basic tasks that are associated with netbooks- browsing, some text editing, playing music and stuff- you don’t really need a fabulous Core i7 processor or something. Still, the basic hardware still used in netbooks- single core Atom and AMD processors- are so slow that you’ll get more annoyed than anything else when using them.

A single core, low voltage Atom processor, clocked at 1.5 or 1.6 GHZ can barely deal with a browser and a PDF file properly. So if you’re after half decent performance on a netbook, you’re better off going for a dual core netbook. Both Intel and AMD have decent lines of dual core chips for netbooks and sometimes they’re paired with integrated HD graphics chips that will give you a little multimedia freedom as well.

To start off with Intel- their line of Atom N5xx dual core chips are some of the most affordable options for you. The N550 and N570 processors offer better performance than single core versions, without depleting the battery way too fast.  With an N550 and N570, you can afford a little multitasking- having a browser, a music player, a word editor and a download tool open at the same time on a netbook is pretty awesome.

Also, you can switch the OS of choice, Windows 7 Starter, with Home or Professional, which are much more accomplished operating systems than Starter. Make sure to pair up the processor with around 2 GB of RAM and maybe an Nvidia ION dedicated video card and you have a pretty good machine available, able even to play some older games on low detail settings. One of the best Atom processors around is the D525, which is an overclocked processor, having two cores running at 1.8 GHZ, and that has very good power management.

Intel's Cedar Trail platform will bring improved HD decoding on netbooks

Intel’s Cedar Trail platform will bring improved HD decoding on netbooks

Some of the best netbooks with dual core Intel Atom processors are Asus 1015 PEM and Acer Aspire One D255, which are also quite affordable right now. Intel will release another platform for netbooks, named Cedar Trail, which will come with improved power management and a 10% overall boost in performance. That’s not too much, to be honest, in comparison with an N550 or N570, but Cedar Trail chips will have the advantage of being able to decode HD content, a feature Pinetrail chips don’t have.

There aren’t many netbooks running on Cedar Trail platforms right now, but soon enough you’ll be able to choose from a bunch, including Asus’s Eee PC 1225 and 1825 or Evolio’s U9, which is also dubbed to be the world’s slimmest netbook. Moving to AMD, the other chip giant, they released in early 2010 AMD Fusion, a platform that combines a processor with integrated HD graphics.

Entries like the C-60, E-350 and E-450 have a dual core processor, with speeds between 1 GHZ and 1.66 GHZ, but also have the capacity to decode 720p and 1080p video, as well as supporting (so and so) gaming. That’s something a Pinetrail chip can’t do in its own and we’ll have to wait for Cedar Trail in order to have a serious comparison for AMD in this sector.

The Dell M102z will pack the updated E-450 AMD Fusion chip

The Dell M102z will pack the updated E-450 AMD Fusion chip

The best AMD Fusion chip you can find now is the E-450, which has a 1.66 GHZ processor and HD 6310 graphics, a configuration you get on, amongst others, the M102z and the Asus U32U, which will be released in early 2012.

To round things up, dual core netbooks are definitely the way to go if you’re after a decent experience with a mini laptop. These laptops can deal with multitasking and slightly more pretentious apps, as well as being able to run more complex versions of Windows.

These machines are also able to cope with HD content and even gaming, so you’re a little closer to a normal sized laptop or computer in terms of performance, but in a 10 inch mini laptop.

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Mark is an Editor here at . He's studying Screenwriting and Production in "sunny" London and in his spare time, he works as an IT editor for a couple of mobile publications, like this one.


  1. Steelhedgehog

    December 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    AMD netbook processors ARE NOT SLOWER because they run at lower clock speeds. An AMD E-450 is just as good, if not better, than an Intel D525. The reason is that AMD’s chips have out-of-order execution, vs. Intel’s, which are In-Order execution. If anything, it is the Atom processors that have a greater tendency to choke! The author is obviously not well informed.

  2. Kimjhon23

    December 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    i like your post mike,,, cool,!!! you keep me updated on the trends of  new generation pc,s.. tnx bro.

  3. Dennis PC

    December 10, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Thanks for keeping me updated. Keep it up!

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