Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

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Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:50 pm

I understand the pragmatically named i3, i5, and i7; but how does intel's lower end processors rank? Where does the atom, celeron and pentium fit in? Is there a clear ranking in performance or is there some overlap? I presume the atom is the slowest of the three. Maybe they should have named them i1, i-1, and i-3.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:56 pm

Atom -> Celeron -> Pentium -> Core i3, etc.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:35 pm

bthylafh wrote:Atom -> Celeron -> Pentium -> Core i3, etc.


Pretty much what he said. There will of course be some overlap, that's natural. The fastest Pentium will be faster than the slowest Core i3. Then you can start looking at which product line brings what to the table. The atoms/Celeron/Pentium's/Core i3's are dual core while the Core i5/i7 are quad core. Atoms are 32 bit only and super low power. Celerons are x64 and are low powered. Pentium's are just your bang/buck and Core i3 is when you start talking performance.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:54 pm

Some Atom chips are 32-bit only or 64-bit capable.

Celeron (dual core 1MB L3 cache cut leaving 2MB)
Pentium (dual core 3MB L3 cache)
Core i3 (dual core with hyperthreading 3MB L3 cache all IGPU features enabled Quicksync etc.)
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:02 pm

The Atom is really a different class of CPU, so it's not really fair to rank it among the others since it generally has a much different aim.

Has Intel ever explained why they continue to drag around both the Pentium and Celeron names? It's sort of confusing.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:28 pm

The Atom is technically 64 bit capable (and DX10 as well) but Intel doesn't give a **** about supporting them.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:41 pm

Only some of the Atom chips are 64-bit (e.g.: Arrandale N455). They're all slow as molasses on a desktop.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:34 pm

Waco wrote:The Atom is technically 64 bit capable (and DX10 as well) but Intel doesn't give a **** about supporting them.

How does this make any sense? Atom is a CPU only; it doesn't include GPU hardware. What does DX10 have to do with anything? And what's the remark about Intel support supposed to mean or imply?
JustAnEngineer wrote:They're all slow as molasses on a desktop.
This is the conventional wisdom, but I am the sort of person who wonders about conventional wisdom a lot. I have a single-core Atom N270 netbook, with 2GB and a 945, and yeah, it's pretty slow. "Slow as molasses", though? It's still faster than my Android phone. It's still quite a bit faster than the aged old P-D desktop my mother uses, and that's a dual-core machine with over a gigahertz in clock rate advantage. Admittedly, my netbook has an SSD and her desktop has Vista, so that probably has something to do with it.

So my question for some time before this thread has been: why all the hate for Atom? If you run an appropriate OS on it, it's capable enough. I'm running Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs and it's relatively zippy, as long as you avoid Flash-heavy websites.

It's definitely true as absurdity said that Atom is a different class of processor than the Sandy/Ivy Bridge-based Celeron and Pentium chips (not even to mention the Core i-series), but it isn't as if Atom is pathetically slow; I'd rather use an Atom machine than an ARM, any day.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:10 am

auxy wrote:Why all the hate for Atom? If you run an appropriate OS on it, it's capable enough. I'm running Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs and it's relatively zippy, as long as you avoid Flash-heavy websites.
Atom is a tablet/phone processor that has no place in a desktop PC, even one that wants to be energy-efficient. Ivy Bridge is where it's at.

Putting new low-end crap into the x86 market that lacks modern features (e.g.: 64-bit) forces developers to dumb-down their software to the lowest common denominator instead of taking advantage of the power of modern hardware to provide new and amazing functionality.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:25 am

auxy wrote:
Waco wrote:The Atom is technically 64 bit capable (and DX10 as well) but Intel doesn't give a **** about supporting them.

How does this make any sense? Atom is a CPU only; it doesn't include GPU hardware. What does DX10 have to do with anything? And what's the remark about Intel support supposed to mean or imply?
JustAnEngineer wrote:They're all slow as molasses on a desktop.
This is the conventional wisdom, but I am the sort of person who wonders about conventional wisdom a lot. I have a single-core Atom N270 netbook, with 2GB and a 945, and yeah, it's pretty slow. "Slow as molasses", though? It's still faster than my Android phone. It's still quite a bit faster than the aged old P-D desktop my mother uses, and that's a dual-core machine with over a gigahertz in clock rate advantage. Admittedly, my netbook has an SSD and her desktop has Vista, so that probably has something to do with it.

So my question for some time before this thread has been: why all the hate for Atom? If you run an appropriate OS on it, it's capable enough. I'm running Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs and it's relatively zippy, as long as you avoid Flash-heavy websites.

It's definitely true as absurdity said that Atom is a different class of processor than the Sandy/Ivy Bridge-based Celeron and Pentium chips (not even to mention the Core i-series), but it isn't as if Atom is pathetically slow; I'd rather use an Atom machine than an ARM, any day.


I'm quite sure that if you run puppy linux with an atom (or any really old hardware) CPU it will make a great browser jockey.

I'm not quite sure what is the aim of Intel's with atom though. With haswell and later with broadwell, I guess the pivoting will be to lower power consumption and more efficient operation than raw performance. For enthusiasts I don't see much to be happy since we are pretty much the minority and a shrinking at that.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:15 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
auxy wrote:Why all the hate for Atom? If you run an appropriate OS on it, it's capable enough. I'm running Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs and it's relatively zippy, as long as you avoid Flash-heavy websites.
Atom is a tablet/phone processor that has no place in a desktop PC, even one that wants to be energy-efficient. Ivy Bridge is where it's at.

Putting new low-end crap into the x86 market that lacks modern features (e.g.: 64-bit) forces developers to dumb-down their software to the lowest common denominator instead of taking advantage of the power of modern hardware to provide new and amazing functionality.
That's a bit of an overreaction, isn't it? I mean, I know what you're trying to say, but you've made an error.

Ivy Bridge is more energy-efficient in terms of performance/watt; sure, nobody argues that. "Race to idle" is a clear win for Ivy Bridge. However, most consumers' CPUs spend most of their time idling, and Atom *does* use less power at idle -- and doesn't take so much longer to complete daily tasks that it will be beat in power consumption by any but perhaps the "Y" chips; the very lowest-power Ivy Bridge chips -- and it's cheaper than any of those, and produces less heat, allowing for smaller enclosures. (There are smartphones based on Atom technology now, you know.)

64-bit support was in every single Atom but the low-end of the very first run (it was in the 230 and 330 CPUs at the first launch in 2008) which don't even support enough RAM to justify 64-bit addressing. I know 64-bit has other advantages, but none of them matter on a CPU that slow OR at that time anyway. All of the current Atoms support 64-bit, so I'm not really sure your tirade about "low-end crap that lacks modern features" is really valid.

The only relevant criticism of Atom is that it's slow, but I sure don't hear people complaining about the crummy ARM chips in most smartphones and tablets.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:35 am

auxy wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:
auxy wrote:Why all the hate for Atom? If you run an appropriate OS on it, it's capable enough. I'm running Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs and it's relatively zippy, as long as you avoid Flash-heavy websites.
Atom is a tablet/phone processor that has no place in a desktop PC, even one that wants to be energy-efficient. Ivy Bridge is where it's at.

Putting new low-end crap into the x86 market that lacks modern features (e.g.: 64-bit) forces developers to dumb-down their software to the lowest common denominator instead of taking advantage of the power of modern hardware to provide new and amazing functionality.
That's a bit of an overreaction, isn't it? I mean, I know what you're trying to say, but you've made an error.

Ivy Bridge is more energy-efficient in terms of performance/watt; sure, nobody argues that. "Race to idle" is a clear win for Ivy Bridge. However, most consumers' CPUs spend most of their time idling, and Atom *does* use less power at idle -- and doesn't take so much longer to complete daily tasks that it will be beat in power consumption by any but perhaps the "Y" chips; the very lowest-power Ivy Bridge chips -- and it's cheaper than any of those, and produces less heat, allowing for smaller enclosures. (There are smartphones based on Atom technology now, you know.)

64-bit support was in every single Atom but the low-end of the very first run (it was in the 230 and 330 CPUs at the first launch in 2008) which don't even support enough RAM to justify 64-bit addressing. I know 64-bit has other advantages, but none of them matter on a CPU that slow OR at that time anyway. All of the current Atoms support 64-bit, so I'm not really sure your tirade about "low-end crap that lacks modern features" is really valid.

The only relevant criticism of Atom is that it's slow, but I sure don't hear people complaining about the crummy ARM chips in most smartphones and tablets.


I guess time will only tell how well these ARM chips scale. The sleeping giant that is Intel has been awoken, and it is a classic battle of David vs Goliath, only in this case there are many Davids( ARM licensees). Let's wait for Broadwell and see how things pan out. Other than that, we can expeculate all we want.

Taking wagers now...........
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:43 am

uni-mitation wrote:I guess time will only tell how well these ARM chips scale. The sleeping giant that is Intel has been awoken, and it is a classic battle of David vs Goliath, only in this case there are many Davids( ARM licensees). Let's wait for Broadwell and see how things pan out. Other than that, we can expeculate all we want.

Taking wagers now...........
My money's on Intel. Nobody else has the process technology or the R&D budget that they do. Sure, there are a lot of companies challenging them, but I am not impressed by the newest ARM designs; Cortex-A15 is hot, and while pretty fast, still barely struggles to beat the aging current Atoms -- I suspect the new Atoms will wipe the floor with A15*.

*Purely my own expectation based on nothing but my own interpretations of data I have been presented by the internet.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:51 am

The mobile landscape is a bit of a mess, but in terms of the desktop stuff, here's your basic layout.

i7 = full product quad-core with hyperthreading
i5 = i7 with hyperthreading disabled
i3 = full product dual-core with hyperthreading
Pentium = i3 with hyperthreading disabled and quicksync also removed from the HD2500/HD2000 IGP.
Celeron = Pentium but with some defective L3 Cache, so only has 2MB instead of 3MB.

There is also a single-core Celeron. AVOID AVOID AVOID.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:27 am

Chrispy_ wrote:i7 = full product quad-core with hyperthreading
i5 = i7 with hyperthreading disabled
i3 = full product dual-core with hyperthreading
Pentium = i3 with hyperthreading disabled and quicksync also removed from the HD2500/HD2000 IGP.
Celeron = Pentium but with some defective L3 Cache, so only has 2MB instead of 3MB.


Are the i5, Pentium with the hyperthreading disabled because that part doesn't work (defective i7/i3) or Intel intentionally crippled the chip to make a new segment?
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:50 am

Intel intentionally crippled the chip to make a new segment


This one way more often than not
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:27 am

uni-mitation wrote:I'm not quite sure what is the aim of Intel's with atom though.

Intel's goal with the Atom has not really changed since day 1: to fight ARM. It started at the time when Nokia was still ruling the roost with smartphones like the N8x and N9x (some argued that they peaked with the N95), and Intel was dreaming about MIDs (a form factor not so dissimilar to tablets). x86 CPUs were still running at tens of watts, while ARM chips were sipping milliwatts of power (at least for standby/idle). The first Atom was an experiment: let's see if we can remove all that out-of-order stuff and the branch prediction circuitry, and see if we can reduce power drastically (they needed to do it by orders of magnitude). They did not come close with the first try of course, but Intel is not one to give up so easily. They knew they had to do it iteratively and given enough time they will get there. Now with Medfield they are finally getting into viable territory for smartphones.

What happened in between was an accident. The first Atom was low power enough compared to the mainstream notebooks at the time, plus the small chip size allowed manufacturers to sell pseudo-notebooks at a much lower price as mainstream ones at the time. Thus ushered in the era of Netbooks. The unwashed masses flocked to them in droves because of the low price and small form factor (7" screen), which caused headaches for Intel because they did not expect demand to be that high. They were forced to support the processors with enough volume. The first Atoms with Linux or a stripped down XP was ok enough for emails, light Office work, and web browsing circa early 2000s. With the advent of Flash, Javascript, and youtube, people started to realize that they are not really getting the performance they need compared to mainstream notebooks. Things started to run "slow as molasses". And the stigma remains today.

For enthusiasts, who know better, the Atoms were shunned pretty much from the get-go. To some degree we were vindicated when Netbook demands dropped off from their peaks. However, the Atom has come a long way and does have its niche. I have a high opinion on the Thinkpad 2 (other than the price) at the moment, for example.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:59 pm

Flying Fox wrote:They did not come close with the first try of course, but Intel is not one to give up so easily.
An amusing side-note to this: the original Atom CPUs had extraordinarily low TDPs (for an x86 CPU at that time, natch) around 4W, but then they made the silly move of pairing it with a PCH that itself had a TDP over 20W. "lol".
Flying Fox wrote:small form factor (7" screen)
A minor correction: the most popular netbooks tended to have 10.1" screens, e.g. the HP/Compaq Mini 110.
Flying Fox wrote:The first Atoms with Linux or a stripped down XP was ok enough for emails, light Office work, and web browsing circa early 2000s. With the advent of Flash, Javascript, and youtube
The Atom didn't even come out until 2008, when all of those things were commonplace.
Flying Fox wrote:Things started to run "slow as molasses". And the stigma remains today.
Most of what you said is true and the overarching point of your post is correct, but it's this very stigma to which I actually object.
Flying Fox wrote:However, the Atom has come a long way and does have its niche.
Eeeexactly. It's not like game developers are going to stop developing top-end games because Intel puts money into the Atom, and it's not like Intel expects enthusiasts to buy Atom machines as their primary desktops. It's a special-purpose chip, end of story, built and marketed to a specific market segment, and it's very good at what it does.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:53 am

Since we are talking the Celerons, Pentiums, and i3's, I do have a question for the owners of those: which is the minimum I should get to play 1080p videos (any codecs) without GPU acceleration? Only the i3-3225 has that ClearVideo stuff, but I believe the iGPU can do DXVA2, right? However, I don't just deal with wmv/mp4/mkv's. Oddball codecs like flv and rmvb pretty much chokes CPUs without enough power even if their lives depend on it. Thinking of building a playback-only HTPC and I would like to know how low I can go.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:24 am

Waco wrote:The Atom is technically 64 bit capable (and DX10 as well) but Intel doesn't give a **** about supporting them.

According to Anandtech, it's a little hazier than that: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6522/the- ... 0-tested/4

These cores could technically support 64-bit operation, but Intel specifies them as supporting the 32-bit x86 ISA. Windows 8 with Connected Standby (S0ix baby) support only currently exists in a 32-bit version, and Clover Trail is only designed to support Windows 8 at this point which is why these are effectively 32-bit cores.


Until somebody decides to try to boot an x86-64 OS on one of these, I don't think you can say all Atoms support 64-bit outright. They also have PowerVR GPUs so it's also dubious as to whether or not there are 64-bit drivers for video.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:32 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Celerons, Pentiums, and i3's, I do have a question for the owners of those: which is the minimum I should get to play 1080p videos (any codecs) without GPU acceleration?


I've seen a Sandy-based Pentium G620T (low-clock 2.2GHz variant with 3MB) handle a 1080p x264 decode using FFDShow on its IGP. CPU load was about 50% or so so I expect you could go as low as you want as long as you stick to the dual-cores.

The Celeron G530 or the newer G1610 is still probably plenty powerful enough for an HTPC as long as you're sticking to sensibly-encoded stuff.
Of course you can make anything choke if you throw high-enough bitrate at it - it's a basic bandwidth limitation, but for the most part, my (now retired) single-core 2GHz Athlon64 was up the task of 720p Xvid and DivX; It was x264 and/or 1080p that forced the upgrade on me.

Flying Fox wrote:Are the i5, Pentium with the hyper-threading disabled because that part doesn't work (defective i7/i3) or Intel intentionally crippled the chip to make a new segment?


Intentional crippling to artificially create tiered product segmentation:

Hyper-threading is an architectural feature that allows the execution unit to handle threads differently - Juggling two threads to make better use of available resources, rather than stringently dealing with a single thread at a time. Disabling hyper-threading is a pseudo-software alteration, likely set by the chip ID and reported abilities to the motherboard/OS rather than a hardware thing.

A damaged execution engine in one of the cores means the core would be completely non-functional, hyper-threading or not. In a dual-core die like an i3/Pentium/Celeron, this might get harvested to make a single-core Celeron, but that's about it.
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:57 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Only the i3-3225 has that ClearVideo stuff, but... I would like to know how low I can go.
Is the Core i3-3225 a budget-buster? If so, would you consider a socket-FM2 Trinity solution?
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Re: Intel's lower end stuff (ranking)

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:33 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:Only the i3-3225 has that ClearVideo stuff, but... I would like to know how low I can go.
Is the Core i3-3225 a budget-buster? If so, would you consider a socket-FM2 Trinity solution?

It's not a money-budget buster, but Trinity is a power-budget buster. ;) And remember, if I cannot use DXVA2, a weaker CPU will not be able to handle those oddball codecs even if its life depends on it. :o
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