Intel's Atom D525 offers a faster clock rate than its predecessor at the same 13 W TDP. Obviously, the new dual-core chip is going to be faster. But after we determined that the Core i3 is more efficient, can Atom D525 usurp the desktop contender?
Intel recently added a faster Atom dual-core model to its lineup. The Atom D525 overtakes its predecessor, the D510, thanks to a 1.8 GHz clock speed (as opposed to the D510's 1.66 GHz).
But this isn't the only change. Both new Atom models, the dual-core D525 and single-core D425, support up to 4 GB of DDR3-800 memory. The chips still employ Hyper-Threading and come with the Pineview core’s integrated graphics unit. Finally, the 512 KB L2 cache per core remains unchanged.
As a quick bit of clarification, while the Atom N-series is designed for netbooks, the D family usually goes into nettops.
We tested Jetway's NC98-525-LF integrated motherboard, a fully-featured mini-ITX platform with an Atom D525. Jetway adds an Nvidia ION2 for additional graphics horsepower. This might not be important for 3D applications due to the chipset's inadequate performance capabilities for this demanding segment, but ION2 helps to smooth video playback at resolutions up to 1080p.
Despite its modest 1.8 GHz clock speed, even the fastest Atom D525 is still much slower than any desktop processor, even the relatively poky Intel Celeron. Desktop chips are much faster per clock, but Atom is hard to beat when it comes to power consumption. Atom allows manufacturers to create low-power systems.
But low power doesn't always translate into high efficiency. The article Efficiency Analysis: Core i3 Trumps Atom On The Desktop provides a great insight into performance per watt, comparing an entry-level Core i3 processor and the Atom D510 dual-core. Now it's time to see how much better the Atom D525 actually is.
This duel compares the Atom D510 against the Atom D525 in synthetic benchmarks, application benchmarks, and our power consumption and efficiency test suite. Let's see what the new Atom dual-core can do versus the model that came before.