The main goal of our today’s test session was to study the potential of platforms positioned for nettop devices – small inexpensive and power-efficient computers used primarily for Internet surfing and work with Internet applications. All three above described platforms participated in our test session: Intel Atom 230, Intel Atom 330 and VIA Nano L2100.
However, we wouldn’t be able to get a complete picture of the consumer functionality of processors with new microarchitectures by simply comparing these three platforms against one another. Therefore, we included two more systems based on the cheapest and slowest LGA775 processors from Celeron family based on Core microarchitecture: Celeron 420 and Celeron E1200. Both these CPUs work at 1.6GHz frequency, the same as Atom. The only difference between them is in the number of cores: Celeron 420 is a single-core processor, while Celeron E1200 – a dual-core one. However, Celeron 420 retails at about the same price as Atom 230 ($29), while the official price for Celeron E1200 is set at the same exact number as that for Atom 330 ($43).
To ensure a fair comparison between Atom and Celeron based platforms we used an LGA775 mainboard on Intel 945GC chipset used for D945GCLF and D945GCLF2. It was ASUS P5GC-MX/1333. For the sake of fair competition we enabled only one memory channel on it.
As a result, our testbeds were configured as follows:
- Mainboards (platforms):
- ASUS P5GC-MX/1333 (LGA775, Intel 945GC);
- Intel D945GCLF2 (Intel Atom 330, Intel 945GC);
- Intel D945GCLF (Intel Atom 230, Intel 945GC);
- VIA EPIA SN (VIA Nano L2100, VIA CN896).
- Intel Celeron E1200 (1.6 GHz, 800MHz FSB, 512KB L2, Allendale);
- Intel Celeron 420 (1.6 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 512KB L2, Conroe-L).
- Memory: 2GB DDR2-667 SDRAM (1 DIMM, 5-4-4-15).
- HDD: Western Digital Raptor WD1500AHFD
We performed all tests on Microsoft Windows Vista x86 SP1 operating system. Despite a widely spread opinion, nettop processors are powerful enough for this OS to run normally. For example, Vista reported a pretty average Windows Experience Index on Intel D945GCLF platform with an Atom 230 (the slowest of all tested processors).
Processor Comparative Specification Chart