Pine Trail vs. LGA775
In Intel’s opinion, Atom processors may as well be used as the basis for inexpensive desktop platforms. The manufacturer positions Atom also as a lower-cost alternative to Celeron CPUs, which has lower performance but at the same time boasts other advantages: low power consumption and low price. It is hard to disagree with this positioning: a compact computer system built around an LGA775 platform will really cost a little more. Namely, while Intel D510MO mainboard with Atom D510 processor costs about $75, a mini-ITX mainboard on Intel G41 Express (for example, Intel DG41MJ) with the junior Celeron will cost you as much as $135, which is way more. However, you will be able to save some cash if you decide to go with an integrated microATX LGA775 mainboard instead of a mini-ITX one. In this case such platform using an LGA775 Celeron processor will cost about $105, which is only 40% more than what you would pay for an Intel D510MO with Atom D510.
But what performance advantage will the users get from a slightly more expensive Celeron compared to Atom? To answer this question we performed a short test session where we compared side by side Intel D510MO against a system built on an Intel G41 Express based board with an integrated GMA X4500 graphics core and the cheapest LGA775 processor available today – Celeron E3200.
The results are definitely not in Atom’s favor. Moreover, the performance of the tested LGA775 platform is higher not by tens of percents, but several times. In other words, even the least expensive Celeron can provide a completely different level of performance. As a result, an Atom based computer system will immediately eliminate the whole bunch of possible applications. A slightly more expensive LGA775 platform will be a much more universal solution in this case. Yes, Celeron is not a very fast CPU, but even if it is used in a system with a budget integrated mainboard, it will allow you to watch high-definition video in any format and even play some games with relatively simple graphics. And it means that you got to have a very good reason to decide on a Pine Trail with Atom. One of these reasons is going to be discussed in our next chapter.