Atom D525 Comes Out Ahead
Intel's new low-power, 1.8 GHz, dual-core D525 is convincing as an advanced Atom version, but it's by no means an exciting product. This changing of the guard is happening quietly and seamlessly. Jetway offers Atom D510 and D525 solutions based on identical PCB designs, making clear that a modified motherboard revision is sufficient to support the faster processor.
Also keep in mind that the performance bump doesn't change anything regarding the Atom's overall classification. This is a low-power, low-cost solution for all application scenarios, including kiosks, ATMs, point-of-sale computers, and nettops at home or the office. Atom still can't deliver application performance for serious workloads.
The 30 W idle power consumption on the Jetway's ION2 motherboard is nothing that couldn't be achieved on a well-designed desktop system. Low-power desktop computers deliver much better efficiency, as well. But they come at considerably higher cost and therefore might not be suitable for all applications or emerging markets. Still, we have to include the ION2 solution into our conclusion, as its 3D performance is a world apart from Intel's IGP, making the Jetway Atom D525 capable enough for older DirectX 9 games.
Thanks to ION2 and the VLC player 1.1.4 it is possible to smoothly watch 1080p/i videos within the discussed power envelope. This could not be done without Nvidia's graphics unit, as even 720p video was impossible to watch on the Atom D510. Since the CPU performance difference is small, it's clear that video playback differences can be attributed only to differences in graphics support.
If you want to do anything beyond browsing the Internet, manage email, and watch basic YouTube and DVD video, you should clearly consider an Atom solution with ION2 graphics. This makes a huge difference for video/multimedia. Other than that, it's important to go for a dual-core Atom. Single-core options are only suitable for specific and very limited application scenarios. Home and office nettop PCs require an Atom dual-core for smooth operation. Intel's new Atom D525 certainly is a good step, and it evolves performance for existing system designs without increasing their power envelope.