Windows 8 tablets based on Intel's Clover Trail Atom processors are finally here, and Anand Lal Shimpi over at AnandTech has benchmarked one of 'em: Acer's 10" Iconia W510 convertible, which is selling at Newegg for $599 right now without the optional keyboard dock.
It turns out the Atom Z2760 chip inside the Iconia W510 performs pretty well in pure CPU tests. It usually beats ARM-based solutions, including the iPad 4's A6X, and it's even faster than AMD's E-350 processor—a higher-wattage chip with out-of-order execution that was formerly a cut above the Atom fold. (The E350 has since been replaced by the E2-1800.) Graphics performance isn't quite so great, though. There, the Z2760 slips ahead of older Atom chips and even some old CULV offerings, but it's still well behind the E-350.
What about battery life? Well, the Iconia W510 clocked in at around eight hours of web browsing and nine hours of 720p video playback, making it the worst performer in AnandTech's collection of tablets. However, the W510 also had the lowest-capacity battery, at just 27 Wh, and it was only slightly behind other offerings. I wouldn't be surprised if Clover Trail offered more competitive run times with the same battery capacity as an ARM-based solution.
All in all, I'd say those numbers are fairly encouraging for Intel's latest stab at a tablet CPU. Clover Trail has another big advantage over ARM chips, too, in that it runs the full version of Windows 8 instead of Windows RT. That means folks can run both Modern UI apps and traditional desktop software. Whether a Clover Trail tablet can offer an optimal experience in demanding desktop apps is another story, but at least the capability is there.
Too bad Clover Trail tablets have taken so long to arrive. According to AnandTech, release schedules slipped by "about a month and a half" due to a bug of a still-undisclosed nature. (The bug reportedly isn't related to power management, but that's about all we know so far.) AnandTech says Acer and Samsung were the first to implement a fix.