The race is on for netbook manufacturers to ship systems with Intel's new dual-core Atom N550 processor, and it seems Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo, LG, MSI, Samsung and Toshiba are barreling toward the finish line. Asus' Eee PC 1015PEM is expected to beat the competition in widespread availability, with units due to ship in Europe next week for €349 and stateside sometime in October.

It sports a 10.1-inch 1024x600 display, one gig of DDR3 system memory, 250GB of storage, Intel GMA 3150 graphics, a trio of USB ports, 10/100 Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a 1.3-megapixel webcam. Just your run of the mill Wintel netbook with an extra processing core and more cache.

Meanwhile, N550-powered offerings from Lenovo and Gigabyte have surfaced in the land down under, courtesy of Australian e-tailer The Gigabyte T1005M, a convertible netbook with a multitouch display, looks to be shipping already for $905 AU (about $800 US). The Lenovo S10-3 follows the same formula as Asus' 1015PEM and is listed on Penta for $699 AU with a September 7 release.