Hey, I have an old laptop (4+ years) that runs a P4 2.8Ghz CPU. Lately I've found that it seems to be dying, and is struggling to run simple applications. I've replaced the ram, but it's still lags. I think the CPU isn't working at full capacity or something, and it gets very hot very fast. Anyways, I'm thinking of getting a very cheap, temporary replacement, so here's my question. What would be the difference in performance between a P4 2.8Ghz, and an Intel Atom N270 1.6Ghz running in a netbook . Would the lower Ghz, but newer cpu run faster than the old P4? Or should I try and keep my laptop going. All I'm looking at running is your basic MS office programs, PDF editor, and skype/msn video and voice chat. Will a netbook be able to handle it? I'm not such a fan of doing video calls on a 8inch screen, but I'd look for one with vga out to my tv.
A 1.6ghz atom is about the same as a 1.8ghz pentium 4 last time i checked benchmarks so it will be slower than your current laptop, your better off spending a little more and getting a Celeron M. A 1.6ghz Celeron M will easily beat your 2.8ghz pentium 4, or even better get a pentium dual core which will let you do more ambitious stuff if needed.
the atom is an awful processor. ive used them alot, and they are horibly slow and a bottleneck for just about anything you put in them.
Back in the real world we had a thread about P4 vs Atom a couple of weeks ago: AFAIR the conclusion was that a dual-core Atom was similarl to a mid-range P4 on multithreaded tasks and a low-end P4 on single-threaded. So if you replace a 2.8Gz P4 with a single-core Atom you'd see some loss of CPU power, particularly if you don't run multithreaded applications or multiple applications.
Right now my Atom 330 is serving the music I'm listening to, recording one TV show, transcoding another to H.264, and doing motion detection on the webcam; the only things I've found that it can't do are play HD video without dropping frames and transcode video at more than a snail's pace... the latter is fine when it's recording TV shows in the background, but is quite painful when you're actually having to sit and watch it work.
All I'm looking at running is your basic MS office programs, PDF editor, and skype/msn video and voice chat. Will a netbook be able to handle it? I'm not such a fan of doing video calls on a 8inch screen, but I'd look for one with vga out to my tv.
It could do everything you listed, though haven't tried skype on an atom, but it should work.
Your CPU will fail by causing BSOD, crashes or else it will just fail to boot. You don't have a CPU problem.
There's only a few ways to boost performance on an old system (and they do it in different ways).
1) Faster hard drive
2) better graphics
3) more RAM
4) Reinstalling Windows
Based on what you told me I'd get a WD 640GB hard drive and reinstall Windows or at the very least clone Windows to your new drive but if your Windows is several years old you likely have some software issues slowing things down.
If your hard drive is 80GB or less you really need to upgrade.
The ATOM CPU is quite underpowered. Some web pages cause my X2-4800+ to jump up to 60% and it's far more powerful than an ATOM. The ATOM is nice for portable but unless that's absolutely necessary get a dual-core CPU (dual-core ATOM's are starting to be "good enough.")
If you want a new system you can get the best value if you know how to buy and build yourself. if it's not a gaming computer it's even easier.