Intel is reportedly planning to expand its Atom range of processors with a couple new models for the Z500 series that will alternately raise performance and lower power consumption compared to existing chips. Unlike the Atom N200 series, these processors are normally reserved for UMPCs and MIDs, but that is not to say they haven't found their way into a netbook or two already, like the Sony Vaio P for example.

First up is the Z550, which will boost the maximum clock speed from 1.86GHz to 2GHz while still needing no more than 2.4W of power and claiming an average consumption of 0.22W. This will allow the chip run in the same environments as the currently available Z540 and should likewise keep the same 533MHz bus and 512K L2 cache of the older part. Meanwhile, the Z515 will target smaller devices with a dynamic clock speed ranging between 800Mhz and 1.2GHz and peak power consumption of only 0.65W and 1.4W respectively.

Average power consumption for the latter would purportedly sit at around 0.16W, which is pretty impressive, but it is also expected to come with a slower 400MHz system bus and a 100MHz slower graphics core. The new processors will reportedly start shipping next month - perhaps faster N-series CPUs are on the way too?