General Performance: PCMark 7
To get a general idea about the complex netbooks performance we used Futuremark PCMark 7 benchmark. This test generates two integral performance scores. The first one is the general score that describes the system performance in typical applications. While the second one is the Lightweight score that estimates system performance in more netbook-relevant tasks that do not require complex calculations.
If we compare two top netbooks, namely Atom with ION and Zacate with Brazos, the AMD solution will be the winner with a slight advantage over the competitors. This is a pretty logical outcome and we have already faced similar situation when we tested corresponding desktop platforms. Contemporary Atom processors outperform Zacate in applications that can be well-paralleled, where Hyper-Threading technology can really shine. Zacate, however, delivers higher specific performance if we recalculate it in the per-thread manner. Therefore, AMD system wins in PCMark 7 suite, which uses both: single-threaded as well as multi-threaded applications.
However, Zacates success only partially applies to Ontario. The junior netbook processor from AMD has significantly lower clock frequency that is why in one test out of two – in the “easy” one – Atom N570 manages to surpass AMD C-50.
Overall, both netbook platforms from AMD work faster during web-surfing. Moreover, Ontario is in most cases even faster than Atom D525 working at 1.83 GHz and enhanced with the ION platform. The only exception is SunSpider test where Atom N570 with 1.67 GHz clock speed is just a little faster than 1-GHz AMD E-50.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the tests we run work in a single browser window. If you normally open a dozen of tabs and windows, then Atom processors with Hyper-Threading support may become a more optimal choice, as they will offer the OS four virtual cores.