Sunday, May 11, 2008

EEE PC vs MSI Wind - Atom vs Celeron CPU Performance Benchmark

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A German site (Computerbase) run the SuperPI benchmark on a Asus R70A UMPC equipped with the Atom 1,6 GHz (Silverthorne), the new Intel CPU targeting MID, UMPC and ultra portable devices.
The same processor is going to be equipped in the MSI Wind and in new EEE PCs and Gigabyte M912.

At a first glance the result seems a bit disappointing for a new CPU: the 1,6 GHz Atom CPU seems slower than the 900 MHz Celeron CPU found in EEE PC 900 and much slower than the 1,73 GHz Pentium M 740.
Number talks you may say: just considering the lower end
  • 1,13 GHz Pentium III-M (Tualatin) 01:55 minutes (worse)
  • 1,6 GHz Atom (Silverthorne) 01:48 minutes
  • 900 MHz Celeron (Dothan-512) 01:28 minutes
  • 1,73 GHz Pentium M 740 (Dothan) 00:46 minutes
However the Intel Atom has a bigger potential, not shown from this benchmark!
Some facts
  1. The german guys compared a pre-production product (with Atom processor) against mature products! We all know that pre-production products are often not very optimized and this is probably the case. Furthermore, the benchmark run on a UMPC: these kind of products are optimized for battery, not for performance.
  2. SuperPI does a lot of number crunching, this is not Atom's target application! Atom is optimized for ultra portable applications, it means for low power. I simply ignore these kind of benchmarks: they say very little to the real-life performance.
  3. Intel Atom supports hyperthreading: as far as I know SuperPI doesn't take avantage of it. This technology can improve real life applications from 10%-30%. The tested Celeron and Pentium M don't. have this potential.
  4. Intel Atom's relatively small L2 cache (only 512KB) may be accounted for the bad results especially if compared to the Pentium M (2048KB)
I think that in the next few months we'll see much more tests and better results product based on Intel's Atom

Related articles
New: see posts about dual core Atom
See also how to replace CPU on EEE PC
See also new post with new tests/benchmarks, articles about Benchmarks and Performance

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