Friday, November 19, 2010

Black Friday 2010 - Tablets and Netbooks - Amazon offers

Amazon is about to start Black Friday 2010 offers starting from next Monday, November 22nd.

-->Direct link to the Amazon Black Friday 2010 offers

Netbooks and especially tablets are hot 2010 products, that's why I'm sure we'll see juicy tablet and netbook offers on Amazon...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Benchmarks for Smartphone and Tablet (ARM Cortex vs Intel Atom)

I already published some CoreMark results for ARM processors found in high end smartphones (e.g. iPhone 3G/3GS and iPhone 4) as well as netbooks.

After the Apple iPad revolution a number of tablet clones is invading the market and there is a lot of confusion with the used processors. Very ofter you only hear something like 600MHz or 1GHz processor, this can be misleading since there is a huge difference between different cores even though they are running at the same clock!

ARM Cortex A8 and A9 are way more powerful than ARM9 and ARM11 cores!
Below CoreMark benchmark results for ARM9, ARM11, Cortex A8, Cortex A9 and Intel Atom processors.
I also created a summary table reporting which ARM core you find in different SoCs.

Click on images to enlarge!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Netbook free anti malware/anti spyware protection - complement free antivirus

As posted in Best free antivirus for netbook, you can get a good antivirus protection for free and that won't slow down your netbook.

What I forgot to mention is that an antivirus alone is not enough: it is important to get anti malware and anti spyware protection. Something that none of the free antivirus provide.

One of the free anti malware/spyware (possibly the best) is PC Tools Threatfire. If you use a free antivirus I warmly recommend you PC Tools Threatfire in order to get a complete protection.
You can get it for free from the PC Tools, no need of registration.

I use it since weeks in my Dell Mini 10v (Intel Atom N270, 1GB RAM) to complement the free Avast Antivirus and I didn't notice a netbook slow down since the installation.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Best free antivirus for netbook (waiting for dual core Atom...)

See also: Free anti malware/anti spyware protection for netbooks

Antivirus software run smoothly, almost transparently, on dual and quad core processors. Intel Atom processors for netbooks are dimensioned for basic browsing experience, even the newest generation of Intel Atom processors (Atom N450 and N470) didn't bring a significant performance boost.
The game will definetly change with dual core Atom (N550, coming up summer 2010). In any case most of the Windows based netbooks sold in 2010 will have a single core Atom processor, for this reason you should be careful in choosing an antivirus software, avoid antivirus that produce a heavy CPU load... you don't want to slow down an already slow system!
The German magazin C't benchmarked 7 free antivirus suites
  • Avast Free Antivirus
  • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
  • Avira AntiVir Personal
  • Comodo Antivirus Free
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Panda Cloud Antivirus
  • Rising Antivirus 2010
The test result: only Avast, Avira and Panda antivirus are light enough to run on netbooks without significant system slow down while antivirus from Microsoft, Comodo and Rising resulted in a significant slow down of the netbooks.
Of the three "fast free antivirus" Avast provide the best protection since a Web Filter is included.

A major problem with free antivirus software is the "slow" update rate: once a day for the free antivirus vs a couple of hours for most of the commercial antivirus programs.
It is up to you to decide whether or not to invest 40-50 USD / year in a commercial security suite or to just use free antivirus. In any case you shouldn't miss a Web Filter function to avoid infections from malicious websites.

See also: Free anti malware/anti spyware protection for netbooks

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Benchmarks Atom vs iPad A4 vs iPhone 3GS ARM Cortex and much more...

See update here

With the iPad, Apple is creating a new type of device that got some similarities with the actual netbooks. It is known that the iPad got an Apple A4 processor clocked at 1GHz, it isn't clear yet which type of ARM core is really used: Cortex A8, A9, a customized version? It is very interesting to understand how this new processor compare to other ARM processors (ARM11 in iPhone 3G and Cortex A8 in iPhone 3GS) and to the Intel Atom processors.
It is really tough to compare performance of CPU with different architecture, running different operating systems and especially targeting very different applications.
Since years ARM claims superior performance for the Cortex A8 and A9 compared to Intel Atom. Now I could not resist, especially because the benchmarking race started and I finally got a critical mass of benchmarking data on Atom vs ARM performance.

FBenchmark iPad vs iPhone vs Atom netbook CoreMark. Cortex A8 vs Cortex A9 vs Apple A4 vs Intel Atom vs Nvidia Tegra 2irst of all a clarification: here we talk about benchmarking of CPU cores, it has little to do with comparing performance of the iPhone vs iPad or iPad vs netbooks. If you want to compare two devices you have to find first a common use case and metrics to measure it, for example Anandtech published browsing benchmarks showing that ARM Cortex cores in iPhone 3GS and iPad are much slower than Atom in one of the most important use cases: Internet browsing.

The benchmarking ARM vs Atom race started and I finally got a critical mass of benchmarking data: ARM, the Linley group and the german magazine C't published CoreMark benchmarks for many ARM cores and Intel Atoms.
EEMBC CoreMark is a good metrics of the pure processing power of the CPU core, the algorithm is pretty small and fits in level 1 cache. CoreMark basically replaces the old Million Instruction Per Second (also called as MIPS, not to be exanged with the MIPS company ain direct competition with ARM...)

I created a chart with normalized CoreMark/MHz for each of the result I got.
The result for Atom processors seems stable around 2,5-2,8 CoreMark/MHz, I don't have a clear bottom line for the Cortex processors. The best results for Cortex A8 and A9 probably derive from tests done in best case conditions in development boards (e.g. for TI OMAP, Freescale i.MX515 and Samsung S5PC110) while real life products (such as iPhone and iPad) got much lower results.
Until the test conditions are clarified is not possible to state who really wins!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Intel Atom N500 - Finally Dual Core for Netbooks?

According to voices Intel will eventually launch a dual core Atom for netbooks, the Atom N500.
I bet it will be a variant of the Atom D510 (1.66GHz clock with Hyperthreading), probably power optimized it means that at least the Enhanced SpeedStep will be supported, allowing dynamic clock and voltage scaling for the CPU core(s). To be noted that Enhanced SpeedStep is neither supported in Atom 330 nor in D510, it is supported only in the mobile variants (e.g. Atom N270, N280, N450 and N470).
This is definetly a good news, it will help improving netbook user experience. On the other hand don't expect a huge performance boost: my assumption is that the additional core and HyperThreading will help a lot improving "just" multitasking performance, single thread performance will be limited by the 1.66GHz and the simple in-order architecture.

Why is Intel doing it? I think that this move is Intel's answer to the dual core ARM Cortex A8/A9 based netbook and tablet PCs...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Netbook Atom N470 Performance Review

The very first review of Atom N470 netbook is out, with disappointing results for people that hoped in a performance leap.

"We went into reviewing the (Lenovo) S10-3t hoping it would be one of the faster netbooks we've ever used considering its new 1.83GHz Atom N470 processor and 2GB of RAM. However, those dreams quickly faded when we were met with the typical netbook performance. In fact, the N470 scored 1,348 on PCMark05, which is actually lower than the N450-powered HP Mini 210's 1393."

Just in case you don't know it, the Atom N470 is clocked at 1.83GHz, about 200MHz more than all other Atom for nebooks (Atom N270/N280 and the newest N450 are clocked around 1.6GHz).
Actually this isn't a big surprise: the higher clock helps Atom better perform with number crunching benchmarks while PCMark05 is a more or less "real life" benchmark testing many different subsystem additional 200MHz doesn't make a big difference.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Netbook Deals 2010 with Intel Atom N450 and N270

2010 started with an invasion of netbook deals: excellent netbooks with Atom N270 and N280 are sold below 300 dollars (see end of the post) and many of the Atom N450 (Pineview) netbooks got relatively low prices..
Asus started first flooding the online shops with many Atom N450 models and I got the impression that the new EEE PC netbooks with Atom N450 got a lower average selling price: most Asus EEE PC Seashell models are available for well under 400 dollars, actually the Seashell 1001P is even below 300 dollars. I found only one premium model above 400 dollars (Karim Rashid collection).
Beside Asus EEE PCs, also MSI started early shipping MSI Wind U135 with Atom N450, the models with small battery are sold for around 300 dollars. I strongly recommend the MSI Wind U135 with high capacity battery for just 20 bucks more.

As mentioned above, many deals are available especially for N270 and N280 netbooks. Top netbooks below 300 dollars

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pink Netbook - Not only for Girls/Women!

For a women/girl the appearance and color of an object/netbook is a very important decision criteria. This is something men rarely understand... Pink is one important fashion color since a few years now.
A prepared a selection of pink netbooks for all price ranges, first the best (and most expensive...) followed by many netbooks of the $270-330 range.
Last but not least, don't forget to find a nice bag fitting the new netbook!

It's simply beautiful and perfect...
....for your Valentine Day 2010 gift: ASUS Eee PC Seashell Karim Rashid Collection 1008P-KR-PU17-PI 10.1-Inch Netbook - Hot Pink
Designed from Karin Rashid, Indian origin and actually living in Paris, Karin Rashid is one of the most important modern designers.
For $499.99 (USD) it isn't the cheapest netbook out there however: what a netbook! It features a breathtaking design that includes a 10.1" frameless LED backlit display and an ergonomic chiclet keyboard. This beauty is matched by an excellent build quality, keyboard and high end feature for a netbook. Actually it isn't just for women/girls or valentine day: I lile very much this netbook and I'm seriously thinking of getting it for myself...
ASUS Eee PC Seashell Karim Rashid Collection 1008P-KR-PU17-PI
  • Intel Atom N450 Processor 1.66GHz (new Intel Pineview processor!)
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 320GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) + 500GB Free Web Storage; Windows 7 Home Premium Operating System
  • 10.1-Inch Frameless Color-Shine 1024x600 WSVGA LCD Display; 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth Enabled, 1.3Mpixel Webcam
  • 6-cell battery for 6+ hours battery life.
As you can see above, compared to main stream netbooks, the Eee PC Seashell Karim Rashid Collection 1008P got double as much RAM (2GB) and hard drive (320GB). Furthermore you get Windows 7 Home Premium instead of Windows 7 Starter.

If you want to spend less
I found a very good offer for you: $299.99 to preorder the Asus EEE PC Seashell 1001P-MU17-PI, up to 11 hours of battery life and the new Atom N450 (Pineview processor).

In any case you still can find good fashion pink netbooks for about $300
all of them with the Atom N270 or N280 processor, 160GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, 10.1-inch display. Most of them got also a high capacity battery and Windows XP, some of them got Windows 7 Starter edition.

A selection of other good pink netbooks I found
Pink netbooks below $300

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Netbook with HD Video (HDMI and HDTV) - Dell Mini 10 (Inspiron 1010)

As far as I know the Dell Mini 10 (Inspiron 1010) the only 10-inch "HD/HDTV capable" netbook: the Mini 10 got an HDMI interface (instead of VGA) and an integrated HDTV digital TV receiver.
The best is that now the price of the Mini 10 dropped to $329.99 (down from $399.99)

Complete feature set of the
Dell Inspiron Mini 10 10.1-Inch Obsidian Black Netbook with Integrated TV Tuner - Up to 6 Hours 20 Minutes of Battery Life (Windows 7 Starter)
  • Processor: Atom 1.6GHz Intel Z530 (512K Cache, yes it isn't a typo! It isn't the N270.
  • 1GB DDR2 SDRAM Memory
  • 160GB Hard Drive
  • HDTV internal Digital TV Receiver (ATS), Mini TV Antenna
  • HDMI digital display out insteady of VGA (analog)!
  • 10.1-inch display, 1024x600
  • Integrated Intel 500 Media Accelerator
  • 1.3M Pixel Webcam
  • 6 Cell Battery
  • Wireless 1397 WLAN Mini-Card (802.11g)
  • No Bluetooth, you can easy find a cheap Bluetooth dongle
  • Windows 7 Starter
The main reason for the significant price drop is the introduction of the new Atom N450 (1.66GHz Pineview) netbooks, for this reason OEMs and shops are trying to sell all remaining Atom N270/N280 netbooks.

All major netbook brands are already shipping or at least announced new models with the just released Intel Atom N450 (1,66GHz Pineview).
As far as I know only a couple of netbooks are really shipping with the new Atom N450

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stereo Music with your Netbook - Bluetooth Headset Review

What are the use cases for Bluetooth in laptops/netbooks?
The most common is probably to link and synchronize the cellular phone, on the other hand the Bluetooth link is very slow if compared to (wired!) USB2.0.
The most sensful application I found so far for Bluetooth on netbook is to connect a Bluetooth headset for VoIP calls (e.g. Skype) and listen to music and internet radio/video. I personally think that Bluetooth isn't a must in the standard netbook feature set, if you want you can buy a decent adapter for $10-20 (USD).
I wouldn't restrict the netbook choice to Bluetooth only devices. In any case my Dell Mini 10v got an integrated Bluetooth interface.
See also Netbook and Bluetooth: integrated vs dongle

Last week I finally got a stereo Bluetooth headset to be used with my Dell Mini 10v (Inspiron 1011). Actually I bought a rather cheap one (Aiptek BW-M02, about $30) since I wanted to limit the damage, actually I wasn't really clear on the real advantage of a stereo Bluetooth headset.
The Aiptek BW-M02 is relatively light, the loudness, fit and link quality are ok, A2DP is of course supported. Very good: a 3,5mm to Bluetooth adapter is also provided, it means that you can connect the Bluetooth headset to any PC/laptop/netbook with a sound out interface and most of the sound systems in the market, you just need a standard 3,5mm sound out jack. Furthermore a mic is integrated, it means that you can use the headset for VoIP calls (with your netbook/laptop) and normal cellular phone calls. The pairing process was easy, however I lost a few mimutes to understand how to enable it on my Mini 10v (just enable the sound sink). There are dedicated volume buttons as well as a pairing and a mechanical on/off button.
Now to the negative side: sound quality is not that good, far below any $15 corded headset you can buy, furthermore you hear some background noise especially with low volume/silence. On the other hand I was clear on the fact that such a cheap stereo Bluetooth headset can't provide a very good sound quality: most of the stereo Bluetooth headsets cost more at least $50-70 (USD).

UPDATE: I got major problems with the Aiptek headset and I will return it!

All in all I'm very happy with the Aiptek BW-MA02, no wires any more, I can use it for both my netbook and my cellular phone to listen to music and place calls when I'm out. For home/office I prefer corded headsets or Bluetooth headsets with better audio quality such as the Sony DRBT50 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Intel Atom N470 Netbook Expected Benchmarks/Performance

First benchmarks show that the new Atom N450 doesn't really bring more performance to the netbook world: processor core, caches 512KB) and clock (1.66GHz) don't differ very much from Atom N280. The only architectural change with impact on performance is the integrated memory controller: this allows memory access with a significant lower latency. On the other hand hyperthreading works less efficiently with lower memory latency, in fact hyperthreading uses the CPU memory access stalls to alternate execution between the two threads.

Intel Atom N470 is clocked at 1.86GHz and got the same N450 technical spec, actually they share exactly the same design/gates.
What is the performance improvement that we will get in the Atom N470? The 12% higher clock will be visible in benchmarks, improving performance linearly up to 12%. Nothing revolutionary, Intel Atoms are CPUs designed for low power and low cost. It's in Intel interest to maintain a certain performance gap between the cheap Atom and the CULV processors. In any case Atom N450 and N470 are not able to decode HD video without some external accelerators (such as BCM70015).
Intel won't significantly improve Atom performance as long as some serious competitors appears in the netbook market: this year something can move with the upcoming netbooks (smartbooks) ARM Cortex A9.

See also

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New netbook bestseller EEE PC 1005PE with Intel Atom N450 (Pineview)

The Asus EEE PC 1005PE is one of the first netbooks equipped with the new Atom N450 (Pineview), availble since a week or so and already a big success: the ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005PE-PU17-BK is currently number 1 of the netbook Amazon besteseller list. Not really unexpected since the Asus EEE PC Seashell 1005PE is kind of successor of the bestseller EEE PC Seashell 1005HA, to be noted that the 1005PE improves the already excellent battery life of the 1005HA: 14 hourse for the 1005PE vs 10.5hours for the 1005HA. Of course an additional sale boost is the fact that the 1005PE is the first netbook shipping with Atom N450.

Some technical data for the Asus EEE PC Seashell 1005PE-PU17
  • 1.66GHz processor (Intel Atom N450)
  • 1GB RAM, 2GB Max
  • 250GB hard drive
  • 10.1 inch display (glossy)
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • 6 cells battery: up to 14 hours battery life!!
  • 0.3 megapixel webcam
  • high speed wifi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth
As also mentioned in the posts below, the new Atom N450 is much more power optimized and doesn't offer a performance upgrade compared to the older Atom N270 and N280.

Benchmarks Intel Atom N450 Pineview Performance

In a previous post I published benchmarks comparing the new Intel Atom N450 to the Atom N270 and N280, the conclusion was that all three netbook processors got a very similar performance level. The Atom Pineview/Pine Trail architecture is a significant integration step allowing lower power consumption and lower price, a minimum performance boost is expected for the Atom N470, clocked at 1,86GHz (200MHz higher than Atom N280).

Anandtech published a very nice article benchmarking the Asus EEE PC 1005PE (Atom N450) vs the topseller EEE PC 1005HA (Aton N280)

I cite Anantech: "1005PE is slightly faster than the 1005HA. The difference in most of the tests is hardly worth discussing (1-2%)".
The 1005PE got much better results in the DivX encoding test, however it seems that this is due to the fact that the performance boost is due solely to the operating system (Windows 7 for 1005PE and Windows XP for 1005HA). This seems to be confirmed by the fact that the netbook with Dual core Atom 330 (EEE PC 1201N and Windows 7) got a 120% improvement vs the EEE PC 1005HA (Atom N280): "but in the DivX encoding test we see a whopping 63% increase. This might be another Windows 7 vs. XP difference, as the 1201N performance relative to the 1005HA is a 120% increase, which obviously shouldn't happen if you just double the core count.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Intel Atom N450 (Pineview) vs Atom N280 vs N270 Benchmarks

The first netbooks with Atom N450 (Pineview, 1.66GHz) are already shipping and much more are going to be released in the next few weeks:
In the meantime some few Pineview netbooks arrived to the press and the first benchmarks are out: bottom line the Atom N450 doesn't bring more horse power to netbooks using the new Atom generation. The situation will definetly change with the Atom N470: the higher clock (1.83GHz) will help a bit to improve netbook performance.

I put together some benchmark results
The wPrime (32M) and Cinebench R10 (2 threads) clearly show that the Atom N450 is positioned at the Atom N280 level. Only 3DMark06 test shows some slightly better values for the pinewiew (Atom N450).

More details on Atom N450 and N470 performance

(click pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Atom Power Consumption - Pineview TDP vs first Generation Atom

I wanted to compare power consumption of the new Pine Trail platform (Intel N450/N470 Pineview + NM10 chipset companion) compared to the "old" Diamondville Atom N270/N280 and chipset.
It looks like the only official/reliable information available is the Thermal Design Power (TDP), this figure gives only a very limited view of the overall power consumption: the TDP (as defined by Intel) is a metric of the chip CPU/chipset power consumption under relatively high load (not worst case tough!). This number is especially relevant to the OEMs in order to properly design the system cooling.

It is interesting to see that the new Atom N450 got a TDP of 5,5Watt, while Atom N270 and N280 got a TDP of 2,5Watt.
The higher TDP is justified by the new Pine Trail architecture: beside CPU core and caches, the main chip (Pineview) integrates memory controller and especially the graphics engine.
In the first Atom platform memory controller and graphics subsystem where integrated in a dedicated chip (945GSE) connected to the main chip (Atom N270/N280) via the FSB.
In both platforms the I/O is provided by a separate chip: NM10 for the Pine Trail and ICH7M for the first Atom generation.

TDP for Atom N270/N280 vs Atom N450
If you consider the platform TDP you see that the overall TDP is lower in the new Pine Trail platform
  • TDP for Pine Trail: 5,5Watt (Atom N450) + 2,1Watt (NM10) = 7,6Watt
  • TDP for first generation Atom: 2,5Watt (Atom N270/N280) + 6Watt (945GSE) + 3,3Watt (ICH7M) = 11,8Watt
As you can see there is about 4Watt TDP difference between the two platforms, this is of course a very welcome news since it is a sign that the Pine Trail platform will relax the cooling requirements and also improve battery life (under heavy load) or allow using smaller batteries.
This relatively high TDP difference is due especially to the fact that the 945GSE was a pretty old design, cheap enough to be used in netbooks. If I well remember Intel's original plan was do deploy Atom with the GN40 chipset: as of today I don't find anymore any information on the Intel website about this chipset.

In a future post I'm going to add a comparison to the Nvidia Ion chipset.

First Atom Pineview/Pine Trail Netbooks for Preorder/Sale

The first Intel Atom Pineview/Pine Trail netbooks are available for preorder at Amazon! (USA): ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1001P-PU17-WT for $339.99 USD (Germany): Asus Eee PC 1005P for 279 EUR

The big news is the Intel Pine Trail platform with the Intel Atom N450 (Pineview) clocked at 1.66GHz and NM10 chipset. The rest is pretty standard in both netbooks: 10.1 matte display (good!), 1GB RAM Windows 7 Starter, decent keyboard, 6-cell battery (rated up to 11 hours), 0.3Mpixel webcam, "slow Wifi" (802.11.b/g) and 3xUSB 2.0 interfaces.
There is a difference in the hard drive: 250GB for the ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1001P and 160GB for the Asus Eee PC 1005P.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Availability of new Netbooks with ARM and Atom Pineview 2010

These days you see Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and other OEMs announcing the new netbook generation based on the new Intel Atom N450 (Pineview, 1.66MHz clock) and ARM cores.
So far these are only announcements, the first Intel Pineview netbooks are going to be available end of January 2010.
Spring 2010 will see the first interesting news IMHO: Skylight, the first ARM based netbook from Lenovo (Qualcomm Snapdragon) is going to be shipped and the first Intel Atom N470 netbooks should be available as well.
The Atom N470 got a higher CPU clock: 1.86MHz and is going to provide the first real life performance improvements since the introduction of the Atom N270 (1.6GHz, vs 1.66 of the Atom N280 and N450). I'm really curious to see the first benchmarks...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Netbook bestseller update: Aspire One AOD250, EEE PC Seashell 1005HA and Toshiba Mini NB205

News in the netbook bestseller list:
  1. Acer Aspire One AOD250-1197 for $279.99
  2. ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA-PU17-BK for $347.99
  3. Toshiba Mini NB205-N230 for §326.33
The feature-set is very very close for all 3 netbooks, all of them got a 10.1 glare display, high capacity battery (6-cells) with more than acceptable battery life, 250GB hard drive, 1GB RAM and Windows 7 Starter.

Some differences

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bestseller netbooks: EEE PC vs Acer Aspire One AOD250 vs Dell Mini 10v (1011)

The ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA is stable as absolute netbook bestseller at This is definetly justified by the relatively low price for a well built netbook, good looking and (by the way) with top features:
  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM, 1 x SODIMM Slot, 2GB Max
  • 250GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
  • 10.1" WSVGA 1024x600 LCD Display, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Windows 7 Starter Operating System (32 Bit), *10.5 Hours of Battery Life
These are the top 5 netbooks of the actual bestseller list
  1. ASUS Eee PC Seashell 1005HA-PU17-BK for $338.95
  2. Acer AOD250-1197 for $279.99
  3. Acer AOD250-1584 for $299.99
  4. Dell Inspiron Mini 1011 (Mini 10v) for $296.99
  5. ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-PU1X-BK for $329.95
The complete list at EEE Journal Bestseller Site

A quick look at the main differences:

ARM11 vs Cortex A8 vs Cortex A9 - Netbooks processors

You may remember that an Intel executive (one year ago or so) in an interview said that the Internet browsing experience in the iPhone is not that good because an ARM processor is used instead of an Intel Atom. Of course this sentence is a pure provocation since the Atom processors weren't (and still aren't) suitable for handsets: they are too power hungry.
The first iPhones 2G and 3G included a Samsung SoC based on the ARM11 core clocked at about 600MHz, much more power efficient than actual Atoms. On the other hand Atom processors are definetly more powerful than ARM11 processors.
In the past couple of years ARM introduced Cortex A8 and Cortex A9 cores, processors able to reach and potentially beat Intel Atom.

Just to give an example showing how "bad" the ARM11 compared to the new Cortex, I report the peak DMIPS/MHz. It is a clock-per-clock performance indication of the processor (used especially for Marketing purpose)
There is a huge performance difference between older ARM11 cores and the new ARM Cortex A8 and Cortex A9.

Example of devices using the ARM cores
Apple iPhone 3G uses an ARM11 processor while the iPhone 3GS an ARM Cortex A8.
The ARM Cortex A8 is also used in Qualcom Snapdragon and NXP i.MX515 SoCs.
The first ARM Cortex A9 based SoCs (System on a Chip) are expected in 2010.
Nvidia Tegra 1 is based upon an ARM11 and it's unknown whether or not in Tegra 2 an ARM11 or a Cortex A8 / Cortex A9 will be used.

UPDATE: Nvidia Tegra 2 uses a Cortex A9 MPCore

Unfortunately I didn't find stable benchmarks results for the Cortex A8/A9 processors, stay tuned... A number of netbooks/smartbooks equipped with ARM processors are expected next year (2010).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Pink Netbook: EEE PC, HP Mini, Samsung NC10, Toshiba NB205

Most of the netbooks are sold in only few colors: black, white, gray and blue.
You want a pink netbook? No problem! My favourite is the HP Mini 110-1037NR in any case here you'll find a selection of the best pink netbooks: all with high capacity battery and good feature set.

If you just want to have a pink netbook and must be very cheap, the only choice you have is the Acer Aspire One AOD250-1962 for $290: a decent netbook, pink and sub 300 dollars. The major difference from the other pink netbooks listed above is the smaller battery, you won't get more than 2 hours battery life.

Here a bigger list of all pink netbooks available at