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Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T: An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet

The Atom Z2760: Specs And Theoretical Processor Performance

Z2760 Block Diagram

Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T is made possible by Intel's Atom Z2760 processor, formerly known as Clover Trail. Sub-2 W power consumption helps facilitate passive cooling, despite the fact that this SoC employs a pair of cores (with 1 MB of L2 cache) at 1.8 GHz, a dual-channel memory controller, PowerVR SGX545 graphics at 533 MHz, and all of the other north/southbridge components you'd normally find spread across a PC motherboard, optimized for a tablet, of course.

Hardware Comparison
TabletSoCCPURAMGPU
Kindle Fire HDOMAP 44601.2 GHz Dual-Core Cortex-A91 GBPowerVR SGX540 @ 384 MHz
Surface And Nexus 7Tegra 3 (T30L)1.3 GHz Quad-Core Cortex-A91 GBULP GeForce @ (Unknown Speed)
iPad 3A5X1.0 GHz Dual-Core Cortex-A91 GBPowerVR SGX543MP4 @ (Unknown Speed)
ATIV Smart PC 500TAtom Z27601.8 GHz Dual-Core Saltwell with Hyper-Threading2 GBPowerVR SGX545 @ 533 MHz

According to Intel's data sheet, the Atom Z2760 employs Burst technology, though we weren't able to observe the SoC speeding up beyond 1.8 GHz using any of the tools at our disposal. Moreover, Intel isn't clear about the circumstances in which Burst is triggered, or how long it can be sustained. The Atom Z2760 supports Hyper-Threading as well, so each physical core shows up as two logical processors to Windows 8.

The SoC's Graphics Media Accelerator component incorporates a handful of features, including Imagination Technologies' PowerVR SGX545 engine operating at up to 533 MHz. Almost three years old now, this is not particularly new hardware. It is, however, D3D feature level 9_3-compliant, giving it Shader Model 2.0 support. Not that you'll be playing many 3D games; the Atom's 3D capabilities are only slightly better than what you'd find in a Kindle Fire HD, and it's slower than Nvidia's Tegra 3.

PowerVR SGX545

Intel also endows the GMA with hardware-accelerated video encode and decode support, including 24-FPS H.264 and VC-1 at 1080p (up to 20 Mb/s). It also handles several stages of MPEG-2 decoding in hardware. The company claims MPEG-4 Part 2 is supported as well, but only in software mode. Likewise, Flash decoding is not accelerated.

H.264 can be accelerated in hardware at 30 FPS using a 1280x720 resolution. 

An integrated display controller with two independent pipelines means that Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T can drive its own screen and output to a 1080p display over HDMI 1.3a at the same time, too.

Theoretical CPU Performance

Although it's a synthetic benchmark, Geekbench is useful in this case for comparing a number of dissimilar platforms, from Apple's iPad to this new Atom and Intel's higher-end Core i5 CPUs. 

Geekbench would have us believe that the Atom Z2760 delivers 23% of the Ivy Bridge-based Core i5-3320M's performance, 43% of the Sandy Bridge-based Core i5-2467M's score, 52% of whatever an Arrandale-based Core i5-470UM can do, 72% of Qualcomm's S4 Pro, and 91% of Nvidia's Tegra 3. But that's the suite's overall ranking. We can break its analysis down even further.  

It's most important for us to look at the outcome of integer math, since that's most prevalent in mobile-only operating environments like iOS and Android for performance reasons. Of course, you can put whichever applications you want on an ATIV Smart PC 500T.

But the synthetics suggest the Atom is only narrowly faster than Qualcomm's S4 and Nvidia's Tegra 3 in the integer test. Meanwhile, the S4 Pro platform enjoys great floating-point throughput. Given these numbers, we can't wait to see how it does in Windows RT-based tablets.

On the bright side, Intel's Atom Z2760 is a massive improvement over the Atom N450 on our Dell Mini.

The new Atom's two 32-bit memory channels, populated with low-power DDR2-800, should be able to move up to 6.4 GB/s. That puts it under the S4 Pro and Tegra 3 platforms.

  • knowom
    Way overpriced would much rather just get a laptop.
    Reply
  • tanjo
    Too bad tablets can't get drunk and hook up; we'd love to see what the kids of Samsung's ATIV Smart PC 500T and Microsoft's Surface would look like.
    Don't know about the looks but they'd name it Samsoft.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    i wonder what a Surface with a Quad core Krait S4 would look like.
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... An Atom-Based Windows 8 Tablet... two terrible things put together...
    Reply
  • hp79
    I got one of these from Staples for $600 when they first released it.
    The battery life is amazing for me. Probably due to that fact that I never blast the brightness because it'll hurt my eyes. I usually recharge the battery overnight, once in 1-3 days. It's like a cell phone (I actually charge my Galaxy Note every night), where it stays connected. Press the power button or standby in the Windows menu, and the screen turns off, but everything else is still going on in the background. I can listen to music and press the power button, and it's just like a smartphone. All this while sipping very little power.
    I can play movies on my 1080p TV using cheap hdmi cable, and after watching 4 hours of movies, it still has 60% battery left.

    I really like the digitizer too since I also use OneNote 2010 on my x230t, which gets synched on the xe500t's OneNote 2010.

    Because I don't have to worry about the battery life at all, sometimes I just keep it on, running a movie or something while working on my desktop or laptop.

    Now the bad things are obviously the slower CPU, and everywhere-glassy plastic feel.
    There are also bugs in the drivers where the touch interface often stops working, especially in Skype. There were several updates on the drivers and bios, but I think they better keep working on it.
    Reply
  • jonjonjon
    this is so ridiculous how bad ms screwed this up. windows 8 could not be more a disaster. why would you release a arm and intel x86 version of the same tablet? with that said why use arm at all. maybe i don't see ms's infinite wisdom. if i buy a windows tablet i'm expecting that i can run all my x86 programs on it. i would love to be in some ms management meetings i'm sure you could get some good laughs. poor ms i almost feel bad for them.
    Reply
  • demirci
    "72% of Nvidia's Tegra 3, and 92% of Qualcomm's S4 Pro"
    This is not correct according to the graph.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    Talk to me when a tablet can run Crysis 3 on its highest settings. Then, I'll buy one. Then, the Desktop PC will be dead.
    Reply
  • killerclick
    Windows Vista had 2.2% after two months on the market.
    Windows 8 market share after two months - 1.65%, meaning it gained only 0.6% Nov 26 - Dec 26
    At the same time Windows 7 gained 0.4% to just over 45%.

    Metro is dead, it should be obvious even to Microsoft now.

    Reply
  • killerclick
    JOSHSKORNTalk to me when a tablet can run Crysis 3 on its highest settings. Then, I'll buy one. Then, the Desktop PC will be dead.
    No problem, they'll make Crysis 3 for Windows tablets, so it'll run exactly the same on the PC. It's what Microsoft is expecting devs to do with their apps.
    Reply