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3D Graphics Performance

The graphics core integrated into the Cedarview series doesn't leave good impressions with its 3D capabilities, either. Intel promised to make the Atom compatible with DirectX 10, and the PowerVR SGX 545 specs suggest the same thing. However, writing drivers that would make full use of the graphics hardware seems to have become an insurmountable problem for the developers. As a result, the GMA 3600 core is only compatible with DirectX 9 so far and even lacks any driver support for 64-bit versions of Windows. It means that Cedar Trail users have to limit themselves to 32-bit OSes only. It must be noted, though, that the Cedar Trail platform doesn’t support more than 4 gigabytes of system memory anyway.

The 3D performance of the GMA 3600 is definitely higher than that of the GMA 3150 core integrated into the Pineview Atoms. We can see that in Futuremark 3DMark06 (the newer versions of 3DMark cannot run on the Atom due to the latter's incompatibility with DirectX 10/11).

Even the slower version of the new GMA 3600 core, the one clocked at 400 MHz, is almost twice as fast as the Atom D525’s integrated graphics. The Atom N2800, whose graphics core is clocked at 640 MHz, is about 2.5 times as fast! On the other hand, notwithstanding the completely new approach to the graphics capabilities of the Atom, Intel’s CPU cannot match AMD’s in terms of 3D performance. The AMD E-350 belongs to a much higher class in this respect.

While the AMD Brazos can be viewed, with certain reservations, as an entry-level gaming platform, the Intel Cedar Trail can’t cope with 3D games at all. Despite the introduction of a faster graphics core, Intel's new platform is no different from the Pine Trail here. This can be illustrated with the charts that show the speed of the Cedar Trail systems in not-very-heavy 3D games.

The new Atom platform can at least run games that would not even launch on the older platform. There’s still a lot of visual artifacts but we could measure the frame rate in some of the games. The results are low, of course. The Cedarview CPUs are both awfully slow compared to the AMD E-350.

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