The rumor mill suggests that Intel's next-generation Atom platform, code-namded Cedar Trail, won't make its formal debut until November. Will it be worth the wait? Maybe, at least based on some benchmark numbers leaked by VR-Zone. The site has posted an official-looking slide detailing the performance of a couple of Cedar Trail CPUs versus their Pine Trail and Oak Trail predecessors.
On the CPU front, Cedar Trail doesn't look like much of an upgrade. The upcoming Atom N2800 dually scores higher than the fastest Pine Trail CPUs, but it also has a 166MHz clock-speed advantage over its closest counterpart. Clock for clock, Cedar Trail's CPU component appears to offer equivalent performance to its predecessor.
The lone graphics benchmark in the set is 3DMark06, a DirectX 9 affair that's getting rather long in the tooth. Graphics performance has always been a weakness of the Atom platform, but Cedar Trail's integrated GPU appears to be much improved, boasting up to three times the graphics performance of the GMA 3150 in Pine Trail. VR-Zone says the higher 3DMark score is mostly a factor of GPU clock speed, though. Atom N2600 and N2800 CPUs will reportedly have GPU clocks two and three times higher than Pine Trail.
Arguably more important than Cedar Trail's 3D credentials will be the chip's ability to accelerate the decoding of high-definition video, whether it's coming from a Blu-ray disc or streaming over the Internet via Flash. AMD's Ontario and Zacate APUs have offered smooth HD playback and respectable gaming chops for quite some time now, setting a high bar for Intel's next-gen Atoms to reach.
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