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Atom against C7-M and Celeron

Intel Atom CPU Review

We also decided to compare our Atom platform with two other systems that could find themselves in competition with our test Mini-ITX motherboard. The first is the Via PC3500G mobo; the second is an entry-level processor sometimes used in ultraportables, the Celeron-M (Dothan).

Compared to the C7

The Via PC3500G motherboard is a micro-ATX board with a CN896 chipset coupled with a C7 CPU clocked at 1.5 GHz. For the test, we dropped the clock of the Atom to the same frequency as the C7’s (12 x 125 MHz, or 1.5 GHz). The memory, hard disk, and operating system stayed the same.

intel atom

On Cinebench R10, as you can see, the Atom was faster than the C7, but not by much – at least when using a single thread. On the other hand, the Atom’s HyperThreading resulted in an impressive performance gain.

intel atom

On PCMark 05, you can see that the Atom platform, even at an identical frequency, was faster than the C7 platform. There are several reasons why. PCMark 05 is multithreaded, like many current programs, and the Atom’s HyperThreading has an advantage. Also, the Intel chipset is significantly faster (or a little less slow, let’s say) than Via’s.

Finally, we measured the power consumption of the two platforms. Surprise: Thanks to a power-saving chipset, the Via platform was more economical than the Intel platform. At idle, the PC3500G drew 49 W, whereas the GA-GC230D was at 59 W. But notice that under load, the Atom only climbed by 3 W, whereas the Via platform consumed 10 W more (while still staying below the Intel). Note that these values are measured at the AC outlet, without taking power-supply losses into account (ours has approximately an 80% yield).

Compared to the Celeron-M

For the comparison with the Celeron-M, we used a portable PC equipped with a model based on the Dothan core. We didn’t run the PCMark tests because, since the machines are very different, the tests wouldn’t have been valid. As for the C7, the Atom was underclocked to the same frequency as the Celeron-M (in this case 1.3 GHz).

intel atom

On a synthetic test like Cinebench R10, you can see that the Celeron showed approximately twice the performance at an identical frequency. Still, HyperThreading let the Atom gain a few points.

In practical terms, these few tests show that the Atom ranks between the C7 and the Celeron-M at an identical frequency. Given that the two processors are being used in Netbooks (the C7 with frequencies close to the Atom’s and the Celeron-M with significantly lower frequencies), we can conclude that Atom-based computers will have performance that’s more or less identical to that of current machines.

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