Since one of the primary reasons for the appearance of the new ION2 platform is the refresh of the Intel Atom processor family that has moved over to the new Pineview semiconductor die, we decided to check out the performance in synthetic tests before moving on to the complex benchmarks. These tests allow us to see if ION2 boasts any advantages in terms of pure processor performance. We used SiSoft Sandra 2010 benchmarking suite:
As we see, the new Atom D510 processor turned out just a little bit faster than Atom 330 used in the previous generation ION platform. And the major reason for this advantage is obviously 66 MHz higher clock frequency. As for microarchitectural improvements, Pineview doesn’t have any, which is exactly what we see on the diagrams.
Things get more interesting in the memory subsystem test. Although the new ION2 platform uses only a single-channel memory controller, its memory subsystem bandwidth is higher than that of the previous-generation ION with a dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM controller. But there is a very logical explanation to all of this: Atom 330 based systems used 533 MHz FSB bus that created a major bottleneck on route between the CPU and the memory. Now the memory controller is inside the processor, so there is no need for any additional bus. As a result, cutting the number of memory channels in half didn’t do the system any harm. Only the practical memory latency may have become a little worse.
A slight performance improvement in the previous-generation Intel Atom processors resulted into a slight improvement in the ION2 performance in general-purpose applications. Most non-3D apps used for home and office needs do not use the graphics controller in any way, sow e can’t feel the power of the new Ion2 platform in any of them, really. Moreover, if this is your primary usage model, it makes absolutely no sense to go for Ion2 at all, because you can get the same performance from the regular Intel Pine Trail platform, with the graphics controller built into the CPU.