In order to carry out proper practical testing and performance comparison of the existing netbook platforms, we took four popular Eee PC models from Asus, which is currently one of the distinct leaders in this particular market.
Intel Pine Trail platform will be represented by Eee PC 1015PX netbook with a 10-inch screen and Atom processor. It uses the graphics fro the processor’s integrated graphics core:
It is based on Atom N570 processor, which is the top CPU model today. It is designed specifically for products like that and features 8.5 W TDP. The processor works at 1.67 GHz frequency, has two cores and supports Hyper-Threading technology, which allows each core to execute two computational threads at the same time
Eee PC 1015PX uses standard integrated graphics – Intel GMA 3150. This netbook is targeted primarily for web-surfing and office applications.
The next netbook, Eee PC 1215N represented Nvidia ION platform. Since the graphics performance in netbooks based on Nvidia platform is significantly higher, the manufacturers feel that it makes sense to capitalize on it and increase the matrix size, too. In this case the screen has a 12-inch diagonal and supports 1366x768 resolution.
This one is based on a faster but also much more energy-hungry Atom D525 processor, which is specifically designed for nettops and therefore boasts 13 W TDP. Compared with Intel Atom N570 processor discussed above, the D525 one works at much higher clock frequency of 1.8 GHz.
Eee PC 1215N has about two graphics accelerators at the same time. The first one is Intel’s standard GMA 3150, which in this case will be used only during work with the OS and those applications that do not require fast graphics.
The second graphics accelerator is, actually, the ION in the form of the Nvidia GT218 chip. This is a pretty fully-functional external graphics accelerator with its own dedicated 512 MB of video memory with 64 bit interface. Nvidia Optimus technology will enable it in 3D mode and in all other cases when high graphics performance is required. The driver is responsible for switching between the graphics accelerators, which can be done automatically as well as manually.