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Power And Efficiency

Shuttle XS29F: Is VIA's Nano Processor Powerful Enough?

VIA’s claim to processor fame is probably the low advertised power draw, which has allowed several generations of product to operate without need of a cooling fan. On the other hand, efficiency is a measure of units of work per units of power, where weak performance can effectively cancel out any power savings. Is the Nano U1700 really a efficient as VIA claims?

Shuttle’s Intel dual-core platform drew only 33% more power than its single-core Nano solution. But besides having twice as many cores, the Atom is clocked higher. Will the Atom exceed the Nano’s performance level by more than 33%?

Indeed, the dual-core Atom performed 87% better on average than the Nano, even though only one out of five benchmark sets appeared to be dual-core optimized. We’ll probably have to wait for a 1.60 GHz dual-core Nano before we see VIA provide any real competition to Intel’s Atom 330.

The Atom slaughters the Nano in efficiency, in spite of VIA’s high-efficiency claims and low power consumption, and in spite of the ancient power-hungry 945GC chipset used in Shuttle’s Atom system. Even the microATX Celeron system, with its full expansion capability and 35W TDP processor, took a tiny lead over the Nano in efficiency.

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