Internet and Flash Technology
The results of our ION platform tests during work with Internet applications are impressive. It is year 2010, but the leading browser and Adobe developers didn’t bother to optimize their solutions for multi-core processors. Therefore, Atom 330 can do nothing against its younger brother. Besides, the system bus with a significantly limited bandwidth turned out a serious bottleneck for the dual-core platform. In other words, if you are looking at ION as a solution for an Internet terminal, it doesn’t make any sense to pay extra for this CPU.
However, I have to make one comment concerning Google Chrome browser that is getting more and more popular. This software tool use a completely different ideology: it creates an individual stream for processing of each separate tab. Therefore, a multi-core processor may be useful during work in Google Chrome, but only if you are trying to load several heavy pages at the same time.
High-Definition Video Playback
Every time it makes less and less sense to test the processor utilization during HD video playback. On the one hand, most contemporary processors have sufficient computational resources for quality video playback even in 1080p resolution. On the other hand, even systems with not very powerful CPUs, such as Atom based nettops, may have video playback performed in the GPU with the help of DXVA and CUDA technologies. Therefore, the only type of systems that can’t cope with HD video playback are Atom based nettops equipped with a pre-previous generation Intel graphics accelerator that have no additional hardware decoder. The nettops based on ION platforms are definitely not among them, as they use GeForce 9300 graphics accelerator supporting hardware HD video decoding.
That is why ION platform can easily be used in media centers, no matter what Atom model is inside. Both: Atom 230 and Atom 330 only perform service functions in ION platforms during video playback and aren’t used to the utmost of their potential. The results of our tests show that clearly. The table below reports CPU utilization numbers during 1080p video playback in H.264 format using MediaPlayer Classic Home Cinema and Flash player on Youtube.com web-site.
The CPU utilization in both cases doesn’t exceed 50%, which means that hardware video decoding works perfectly fine in both cases. However, we didn’t have any doubts that everything would be like that. Software video players and Flash player have long been optimized accordingly and we have already got used to these changes. The mere existence of these optimizations makes the operational conditions during video playback equal for different Atom modifications.
By the way, hardware playback of high definition video broadcast online works not only with the Flash players. HTML5 players in their current form that become increasingly popular these days can also use hardware acceleration of video playback. In other words, the situation when the users of “weak” computer systems had to carefully select a multimedia player or codec slowly sinks into oblivion.