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Intel Hardware

VIA Nano Bests Intel Atom In Netbook Benchmarks 130

Posted by kdawson
from the still-too-slow dept.
Glib Piglet writes "ZDNet UK has a whole set of benchmarks comparing a 1.8 GHz Nano in VIA's Epia SN motherboard and a 1.6 GHz Atom in Intel's 'Little Falls' D945GCFL mobo. It's not good news for Chipzilla: 'As far as memory performance is concerned, the Nano is clearly superior in every test' and 'The VIA Nano emerges as the better processor for internet tasks. While the Atom needs 132.8 seconds to display simple HTML pages, the Nano does it in 70.1 seconds.' The Nano even outperforms Nehalem on one test. It's not all a win for VIA, though. The benchmark concludes that in some ways all netbooks, underpowered as they are, remain in the IT stone ages."
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VIA Nano Bests Intel Atom In Netbook Benchmarks

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  • Hmm. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Didn't we read similar tests already? The Nano should of course win, since it has out-of-order execution design. But, from what I hear the dual core Atom is at par of the single Nano. When the dual core Nano is released (should be late this year, early next year), it'll wipe the floor with the Atom.
    • by cb88 (1410145)
      what about when the dual core nano comes out... which it is also via's design is clearly superior if only they had the factory to produce 32nm chips
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:13PM (#26803801) Journal
    Unfortunately, all of that is largely theoretical until VIA can score some design wins, which is a pity because the present state of things doesn't exactly motivate chipzilla to drop margins or loosen restrictions on Atom.
  • Poor tests (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:14PM (#26803817) Journal

    The VIA chip has built-in crypto accelerators and the idiots running the test pick something that doesn't use it! How about a with and without for comparison?

    • No doubt for all those wi-fi access points you'll be cracking on your Acer Netbook, right?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eddy (18759)

        Or maybe for free (as in performance) whole-system disk encryption?

        Unfortunately, 'reviewers' think it beneath them to actually do any work beyond running their standardized tests. I've tried to reason with some of them before. They'll just continue running their LAME-MT and non-padlock enabled truecrypt or whatever. I tell you though, with Intel finally having crypto primitives in their new instruction set, they'll have to adapt sooner or later. Just as soon as Intel provide the how-to and/or software for

    • by ofc (311641)

      The Nano has been available for a while now, but the (64-bit) Linux kernel still doesn't support the crypto accelerator and random number generator.
      I recently bought a Nano based Jetway board and had add crypto and rng support myself. It's mostly working now, but I'm waiting for VIA documentation to do things the right way.

  • by stephentyrone (664894) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:15PM (#26803819)

    Processor with markedly higher power draw achieves superior benchmark results. News at 11.

  • by Eukariote (881204) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:17PM (#26803865)

    PCMark 2005 has been shown to yield wildly varying results for the nano depending on which CPU ID (CentaurHauls, GenuineAMD, AuthenticIntel) it is being presented with: http://arstechnica.com/hardware/reviews/2008/07/atom-nano-review.ars/6 [arstechnica.com]. Not surprisingly, if PCMark is made to think it is an Intel CPU, the benchmarks suddenly jump up across the board. Intel money buys good benchmarks.

  • Now find one... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chordonblue (585047) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:19PM (#26803895) Journal

    The real news here is that even with these numbers, VIA will manage to blow whatever opportunity they have to gain advantage on netbooks.

    It'll either be overpriced, hard to obtain in quantity or both. VIA seems to have a bad habit of showing stuff that, while it isn't vaporware, it's not something you'll actually SEE short of a consumer electronics show somewhere.

  • by Vigile (99919) * on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @05:19PM (#26803907)

    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=664 [pcper.com]

    The benchmarks for the new Atom 330, dual-core HyperThreaded CPU seem to turn the tides though.

    The Nano has ALWAYS been a better CPU than the Atom but that doesn't seem to matter when it comes to the push that Intel has...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The benchmarks for the new Atom 330, dual-core HyperThreaded CPU seem to turn the tides though.

      Atom 330 benchmarks have been out for months, and Intel is limiting it to desktops.

    • And the dual-core Nano will turn the tides on it - except that, you can't buy dual-core Nanos.

      Intel won with the Atom because they actually sold Atoms. I can't find Nanos anywhere! I've been looking for a whole year.

    • by PayPaI (733999)
      It should be noted that they are testing the Atom 330 with a nVidia GeForce 9400M chipset, which you cannot purchase today. The BOXD945GCLF2 motherboard with the Atom 330 (dual core) has the same 945GC chipset as the BOXD945GCLF motherboard that has the Atom 230 (single core), and that is the only dual core Atom cpu+chipset that you can purchase today.
    • The Nano has ALWAYS been a better CPU than the Atom

      Really? I always thought the Atom used less power, making it a better processor for use in netbooks (where the Atom is aimed at).

    • Yeah, well Via's driver support for Linux is horrible, while the Intel Atom stuff just works perfectly with Ubuntu out of the box. That may have something to do with why Intel is preferred.

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        Yeah, well Via's driver support for Linux is horrible, while the Intel Atom stuff just works perfectly with Ubuntu out of the box. That may have something to do with why Intel is preferred.

        While that would potentially make me (and possibly a number of others here) prefer the Atom, since in Real Life almost nobody runs Linux on their desktop it doesn't have much impact on anything.

        My laptop does run Linux but it's a regular Core2. It's 11" though so I can actually carry it around.

  • "While the Atom needs 132.8 seconds to display simple HTML pages, the Nano does it in 70.1 seconds."

    I was thinking of getting a netbook, but damn, not with that performance. Over 2 minutes? Is this a big miscalculation somehow?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by _avs_007 (459738)

      I don't know what the hell kind of webpage they were trying to display... I have an Acer Netbook with the Atom in it, running Windows 7. It renders slashdot, ars, and even facebook, within 3 seconds or so...

      • Ditto here (Acer Aspire One with XP, using a 1.6GHz Atom N270). About 3 seconds for slashdot.

        If firefox is already cached, it starts up in only 3 seconds.

      • by Atti K. (1169503) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:02PM (#26804605)
        The benchmark was obviously rendering lots of simple HTML pages, not just one.

        "While the Atom needs 132.8 seconds to display simple HTML pages, the Nano does it in 70.1 seconds."

        Whoosh?

        • by GweeDo (127172)

          Better context of this statement from the article would help. Because obviously single page renders are darn snappy (atleast on my Dell Mini 9 + Ubuntu 8.10). Do we have exact details on what pages they were trying to render in sequence to back your claim?

      • by Atario (673917)

        Obviously, my Netflix queue.

    • Clearly... (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They were using Windows Vista.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888)
      No idea what the hell they're trying to render, but my netbook renders just about every page I visit at about the same speed as my desktop machine. If there's any difference, I don't notice it.
      • by tool462 (677306)

        With the word 'pages' in there, I'm inclined to think they have a set of a pages they throw at it, probably picked to test a bunch of different types of elements to render or control for some other variable. The time is likely the aggregate time it takes to render all of the pages in total.

        • by _avs_007 (459738)

          If that's the case, then what's the point?

          Doesn't matter if the atom did it in 130 seconds, because 70 seconds still sucks.

          Whose going to be doing that in real life? That's like comparing which is faster at encoding h264. Doesn't matter what the results are, becuase it'll suck for both, and nobody will be doing this on a netbook in the first place.

          • by tool462 (677306)

            The point is that there are error bars on the measurements. Maybe the atom renders a single page in 500ms and the via in 300ms. That's all well and good, but what if the processor was handling some other background task for one or the other during that time? The extra few ms makes a difference. So, instead they have each one render some 100+ pages in a row. Little anomalies like that get averaged out, so you get a better comparison between the two.

          • I do it in real life, on my netbook. I save Firefox sessions and open about thirty pages at once whenever I load the application. The main point of a netbook is as an internet appliance, yes? Why are you surprised to find that one of the benchmarks involves opening web pages?

            For encoding video, you are probably correct: anyone who is doing that is unlikely to be using a netbook. However, your post reads like an argument against benchmarking these computers at all. Perhaps you should reconsider your statemen

    • I wondered that, too. even 70 seconds is way too long. And they are referring to "simple" HTML pages. Maybe they meant milliseconds.

    • by Abreu (173023)

      I'll also join in and say those numbers are just wrong. My Acer AspireOne renders all kinds of webpages with no noticeable difference from my desktop machine

    • I'd also like to know what the hell they were testing it with.

      I'm running Gentoo on my MSI Wind U90. It boots pretty damn quick (about as quick as my desktop, actually) runs smooth for all tasks.

  • There's data missing for the Atom in the wattage test to the 132 second HTML rendering, I'm not sure this test is anywhere near correct...for anything.

    What kind of MONSTER HTML file are they throwing at these systems? Why put the Cinebench multi CPU benchmark up if it doesn't show any data at all except for the Pentium E5200 (the Atom is a single core CPU, why even run it?). And how is a Cinebench 64 bit test running on Vista 32 bit?

    • by dreemernj (859414)
      They used iBench 5.0 [wikipedia.org] for the HTML rendering test. Its an out of date benchmark for testing HTML render speeds that doesn't really represent internet browsing as it is today.

      I love VIA processors because I've had great experiences with them, but this particular "win" seems to have very little actual value to it.
  • Okay, I didn't RTFA... 70 seconds to display a html page? As in one minute and ten point one seconds?

    Err... Please tell me that I'm missing something here.

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      Err... Please tell me that I'm missing something here.

      How about the s? On the end of "pages"?

  • *Disclaimer: I work for Intel
    *Disclaimer 2: I actually do software research for Intel, and I haven't a clue about anything to do with hardware or business

    I have a little EEE pc with an Atom 1.6GHz - I'm actually find it does have enough compute for most of what I do.

    I did a stopwatch test on my computer - it takes less than 45 seconds from pushing the power button to getting on the network and rendering a web page. I'm running WinXP, but people have reported significantly better numbers with Linux.

    The only

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      Just for fun: Power button to login, typing the URL to stackoverflow.com and letting it load = 1m10

      This is on a stock eee701, with Debian+Xfce+Firefox. There's two big slowdowns - it takes several seconds to react to pressing the power button unless the AC is connected, and having an SD card in adds about 5 seconds. The SSD access LED isn't on constantly so I think there's room for improvement.

      My real dislike with it is that resuming from standby takes almost as long as a cold boot.

  • by Piranhaa (672441) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:24PM (#26805003)

    http://www.zdnet.co.uk/i/z5/rv/2009/01/netbooks_pwr.jpg [zdnet.co.uk]

    Why doesn't Intel get scored on IDLE power consumption? Who cares about MAXIMUM when idle is the state that most of these netbooks will be in. wtf?

  • by cadu (876004) <cadu@coelho.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:51PM (#26805351)

    "The benchmark concludes that in some ways all netbooks, underpowered as they are, remain in the IT stone ages."

    i don't know what kind of netbooks they're talking about, all newer netbooks (with decent resolution like 1024x600+ and 1gb of ram with a intel atom or via nano) perform VERY well, you can play quake3 in those using the onboard intel chip at the netbook lcd's native resolution, you can install windows xp and use that normally or go the [better] linux way and have a fully capable machine for programming, fun , studies.....

    i used to listen to mp3s while programming on my first linux box , and that was a pentium 166mhz with 64mb of ram.....kernel 2.2.dontknow, can you guys tell me where 1.6ghz of processor with usb/wifi/bluetooth/1gb of ram/3d accelerated graphics is stone age? i wonder why they allow this kind of bullshit to reach slashdot's front page T__T

    • by owlman17 (871857)

      i used to listen to mp3s while programming on my first linux box , and that was a pentium 166mhz with 64mb of ram.....kernel 2.2.dontknow, can you guys tell me where 1.6ghz of processor with usb/wifi/bluetooth/1gb of ram/3d accelerated graphics is stone age? i wonder why they allow this kind of bullshit to reach slashdot's front page T__T

      That's true. I did pretty much the same thing on a 128 MB Celeron 366. I programmed on it, surfed, listened to my mp3s. (It got a bit sluggish then but got the job done.) I played Q3 on it at 1024x768 - well I had a Riva TNT2 card. Sure, you won't be playing Crysis on a typical netbook anytime soon (except maybe on an Asus N10, albeit slowly) but calling it stone age tech is a bit of a stretch.

  • So they compare the power consumption of _Netbook_ CPUs by comparing the power consumption of _Desktop_ motherboards running _Vista_, when every netbook I'm aware of runs XP or Linux and Intel is world-renowned for having tied the desktop Atom to an appallingly crappy, backward and power-hungry chipset?

    Then we should be surprised that they discover that a CPU which takes far more power than the Atom gives better performance in tests which are probably single-threaded and hence not even using the Atom's CPU

  • "While the Atom needs 132.8 seconds to display simple HTML pages"

    Good to see IE8 coming out of beta

  • It's not all a win for VIA, though. The benchmark concludes that in some ways all netbooks, underpowered as they are, remain in the IT stone ages."

    Even if netbooks (whatever that comes to mean, netbooks keep evolving into more powerful machines, people start saying, "Ya email and surfing is great but what about some modern games and Matlab?", but I digress) don't turn out to be huge (I disagree, who doesn't want a machine with insane battery life?) the whole overpowered phones with intertubes will be huge. So if VIA plays their cards right, (and ARM for that matter) they could have a really huge untapped market on their hands.

  • It's interesting they didn't run any real crypto tests [zdnet.co.uk] that actually, you know, *used* the Nano properly. The Nano comes with the Padlock engine built in [hermann-uwe.de], for hardware crypto. With Padlock-aware software running crypto, the Nano "spanks" Core 2 Quads [meinss.de] with lots of welly and gives even Intel's i7 a run for its money.

  • Describing something as in the "IT stone age" is simply wild exaggeration. I was in the IT stone age, and I don't notice the tape punch on the side of my netbook. My evil minded suspicion is that the people who write the reviews are (a) quite detached from reality - they have no idea of real world user needs and (b) it's bad news for them if the industry suddenly says "OK, performance is good enough - let's just focus on cost, reliability and power consumption", because they won't have anything to write abo
  • What surprises me is that its only twice as fast.

    A Looong time ago, when htpc's were becoming something interesting in AU (not long before digital tv was broadcast on all stations in AU - around 2002). I bought an epia nehemiah m10k (there weren't many to choose from at the time, the m8k was the other one and the big diff between the two was one was passive cooled and the other active - i got the active one for the extra cpu grunt).

    Anyways, a short time ago I noticed that intel were shipping mini-itx boards

  • First the typo - the board is D945GCLF

    Second, why didn' they use the dual-core, hyper-threading Atom MB, the D945GCLF2? The latest board, the D945GCLF2 includes Gigabit Ethernet, not Fast Ethernet. Link [newegg.com]

    Finally, I've built systems with each of the "Little Falls" MBs from Intel, and all nice (considering cost) and very-capable MB/CPU combos. If the VIA CPUs are "better" that's great, but they tend to be very pricey by comparison ($85 for Intel vs. $285 for the VIA EPIA SN 1.8 GHz board referenced)

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