Efficiency Analysis: Atom D510 Vs. Atom D525/ION2

Can More Clock Speed Improve Atom's Efficiency?

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.

Achim Roos
  • darthvidor
    very nice, thank you. been wondering how fast and energy efficient the new atom is. might replace the intel d945gclf2 connected to my tv.
  • Scanlia
    Thanks... now I know that a D525 is better than the D510... I thought a higher number means that it's slower... .
  • Simple11
    Sweet! I am always looking at atoms+ion combos for my Carputer build!
  • Gin Fushicho
    I just skipped to the power consumption after I saw the application benches.

    I'd rather keep the D510 over a D525. Longer battery life for my simple purpose of web browsing.
  • super_tycoon
    i don't think you guys even tried using the d525/ion2 system for anything beyond the benchmarks. you greatly underestimate how usable it is. my asus 1215n chugs along just fine in almost any game. obviously you wouldn't want to throw something like civ5 at it, but in reality the combo plays games better than (for the most part) any iX notebook with integrated graphics. it plays company of heroes and starcraft 2 just fine at lowered settings. i'd bet you'd be surprised how viable it is as a light gaming platform for something that uses as much power as your monitor.
  • jeremypv
    >>This could not be done without Nvidia's graphics unit, as even 720p video was impossible to watch on the Atom D510.

    I'm using xbmc with a D510, and it plays 720p video just fine, with coreavc, it can even play a few 1080p videos
  • ta152h
    Was this supposed to be about the Ion, or the D525? Why would you write an article with the intent to compare two processors, and put them on very different platforms?

    I didn't even read this worthless article after I saw that. It would have been interesting had the reviewers used some common sense.
  • JonnyDough
    Except for power savings...why would anyone buy one of these when you can get recycled PCs for almost free? In six months they will have something a lot better anyway.
  • sudeshc
    nice article, but i feel there is still need for alot of improvements
  • SteelCity1981
    I don't get why intel still hasn't made the transition to 32nm for the Atoms yet. You would think these chips would have been the first to get 32nm.