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What to expect from desktop and mobile processors in 2010

We look at what's on the cards for CPUs this year

From mighty six-core desktop chips to miniscule smartbook processors, here's a look at what's on the cards for CPUs this year.

Rapid growth in the all-in-one PC and netbook markets means chip manufacturers are turning their attentions to the mobile and low-power segments of the processor market.

What's more, a new category of small portable computer is springing up between smartphones and netbooks: the smartbook.

Smartbooks are designed to maintain 3G connections to the internet and deliver a full day's use on a single battery charge, like smartphones, but they're also designed to run productivity applications (usually via the cloud) and feature much larger screens and keyboards, like netbooks.

And while Intel pretty much owns the netbook market with its Atom processor, it could face a strong challenge on the smartbook front from ARM Holdings with its extremely low-power Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processors and their successors.

All this emphasis on mobile devices is not to say the desktop processor market will stagnate; in fact, Intel announced no fewer than seven new desktop CPUs at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and Advanced Micro Devices and Intel are expected to introduce their first six-core desktop CPUs this year.

Here's a broad look at the road maps from the major chip makers, including their overall strategies and promised technologies for the coming year, as well as a peek what they might offer in 2011.

NEXT PAGE: Desktop processors

  1. We look at what's on the cards for CPUs this year
  2. Desktop processors
  3. Low-power desktop CPUs
  4. Full-size laptop CPUs
  5. Netbook CPUs
  6. Looking further out

See all: Processor reviews


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