Intel's Atom processor benchmarked

— 9:33 AM on March 5, 2008

Ever since first revealing its "Silverthorne" mobile processor—now officially known as Atom—Intel has been touting the merits of the chip: its lilliputian die size, its low power use, and its full x86 compatibility. However, Intel has yet to release performance numbers that quantify just how fast the chip is in relation to its competitors in the mobile space. We've heard speculation about how the CPU's in-order architecture might affect real-world performance, but that's about it.

Apparently, the folks at German site ComputerBase got tired of waiting, because they decided to grab one of the Atom machines on display at the CeBIT show and run the Super PI benchmark on it. The result? A 1.6GHz Atom chip seems to sit right between a 900MHz Celeron M and 1.13GHz Pentium 3-M—slower than the former, and a bit speedier than the latter. Considering Asus' Eee PC features a 900MHz Celeron, this benchmark gives a rough idea of how Atom-based devices might compare.

Of course, these results may not necessarily be indicative of real-world performance. For one, ComputerBase says Super PI is a single-threaded test, which squanders the benefits of Atom's simultaneous multi-threading support. Atom may also do better in applications whose performance is less dependent on raw floating-point performance.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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