Intel’s Atom processor took the world of low-cost PCs by storm last year, and it’s accelerated the decline of traditional systems with more expensive, mainstream CPUs—not to mention the decline of PC makers’ profit margins. But its popularity raises an important question: is the Atom really fast enough to provide a good user experience?
"User experience" might seem like a somewhat vague concept, but it’s really pretty straightforward in this case. Assuming a given netbook or nettop has a half-way decent storage solution and a healthy amount of memory, is the Atom fast enough to handle day-to-day desktop tasks without getting in the way? Can you browse YouTube and do some light multitasking without your system slowing down to a crawl?
We’re curious to see where readers stand on this, so we’ve turned that question into our latest poll. Feel free to vote whether or not you’ve used an Atom PC to begin with—it should be interesting to see the difference in perception between users and non-users.
Our previous poll topic was about processor sockets, or more precisely, which socket you’d choose if you were upgrading today. The Core i7’s LGA1366 socket won by a handy margin, securing 44% of the 7,027 votes. AMD’s DDR3-enabled Socket AM3 came in second place with 30%, while LGA775 and Socket AM2+ were about even with a respective 13% and 12%. Unsurprisingly, our readers seem to care more about performance and future-proofing than anything else when making this kind of choice.