Acer Clover Trail tablet benchmarked

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 (The E350 has since been replaced by the E2-1800.)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.

Comments closed
    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Clover Trail has another big advantage over ARM chips, too, in that it runs the full version of Windows 8[/quote<] According to AnandTech the 64GB version has 30GB of available storage and 2GB of memory. This thing is a joke if you want to play in the x86 world.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      meh. 30GB is enough for what an Atom can reasonably do. You’re not going to be installing 20GB modern games on this, Office suite takes 3GB…ummm, what else? Media should go on a flash card, or if not it’s no worse than other ~32GB tablets. As long as they’re somewhat price competitive with other 10″+ 32GB tablets, the x86 advantage ‘value’ taken into account, I don’t see the big deal. The only problem is if people are mislead and think they’ll actually have near 64GB to use, if they do their research they’ll know but the manufacturers should advertise ‘user available space’ clearly.

        • End User
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]the x86 advantage 'value' taken into account[/quote<] What does that mean?

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          Really? It means compared to other tablets which aren’t capable of running x86 software at all. Yes, it’s priced higher than other 32GB tablets, but the ability to run x86 Windows software is worth something and adds value.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            Give me some examples of x86 Windows software that you would run on this.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Anand Lai Shimpi:
    [quote<]It’s clear to me that there are still a lot of rough edges with Windows 8[/quote<] My opinion: The GPU is catastropically bad, and it's still an in-order Bonnel-cored processor that isn't particularly efficient, as proven by the poor battery life.

    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    I can’t believe it’s not butter!

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 7 years ago

    iPad and Nexus got all that GPU and neither can play StarCraft, WOW, or any AAA PC game.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      It still baffles me as to why tablets are LOADED with decent RTS’s, Sim-clones, etc. Instead we get all these dumbed down P2W versions that just don’t play right at all.

      edit: Maybe in 2013? Maybe in 2014 when Gaben makes the SteamBoxMobile?

        • Farting Bob
        • 7 years ago

        People arent comfortable with paying more than a few dollars for a game on a tablet/phone. It would be crazy to spend millions developing a true RTS for ios/android because it’s unlikely you’ll be able to sell much if you price your game over $5, and you’d need a hell of a lot of buyers at that price to make it worthwhile. Also, nobodies going to want to play an RTS on a tablet for hours on end, and if they do the battery will be dead pretty damn quickly.

          • ChronoReverse
          • 7 years ago

          Another thing is that most serious RTS’s require a great deal of precision which the touchscreen cannot provide.

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 7 years ago

    I’m more interested in the W700 (or similar) series. They’re a tad more pricey and they aren’t the thinnest devices around, but you get a full-fledged i3 with HD 4000 graphics and an IPS screen with 1080p resolution. I’ve seen them go for as low as $750 with the dock. Granted you can get a comparable touchscreen ultrabook for about $150 less, but they’re usually limited to a 1366 x 768 resolution and… well, they aren’t tablets and tablets are le cool.

      • cartman_hs
      • 7 years ago

      well said..that one caught my eyes as well! but i’m holding out any purchase until more “news” of surface pro battery life come out….its between W700 and SurfacePro for me now…

      • rwburnham
      • 7 years ago

      If you want the better desktop performance, the i3s and up are a better choice. The Atom version is great if you spend most of your time in the Modern UI with only occasionally dabbling in the desktop.

    • nico1982
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]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.[/quote<] One might argue that the W510 is equipped with a low resolution screen, while both the Nexus and the iPad sport high resolution panels. The retina iPad 3 achives worse runtimes than the iPad 2 in spite of the much beefier 42 Wh battery versus the 25 Wh one of the previous model. It is hard to isolate the SOC from the device as a whole, but it seems legit to think that Clover Trail isn't quite in the same ballpark as both the A6X and Exynos as far as power efficiency goes.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]it seems legit to think that Clover Trail isn't quite in the same ballpark as both the A6X and Exynos as far as power efficiency goes. [/quote<] Overall, you sort of have a point in your post, but I would say that Clover Trail is definitely in the same ballpark in efficiency. Apples to Apples comparisons are difficult because the hardware (and software) varies so much between different options. The closest apples-apples comparison I've found so far on 32nm Atom and 32/28nm ARM chips is the one with RAZR i going against RAZR M. That comparison clearly shows 32nm Atom is in the ballpark.

    • tviceman
    • 7 years ago

    Intel is proving they are competitive in the ultra low power space, but it’s graphics are ultra slow (slower than the 1 year old Tegra 3) and even their CPU will likely be beat in every metric across the board vs. Tegra 4 and Apple’s A7.

    The x86 compatibility factor might matter to some, but even as Anand says, “compatibility is a hit and miss advantage.” Also, there are so few touch screen x86 applications that having an x86 tablet, IMO, doesn’t provide a significant useage advantage over ARM, at least not with what clover trail is reasonably capable of accomplishing. With the surface pro, x86 compatibility is definitely more usable, but then we’re talking about $800 minimum price point.

    I’m sure I’ll get down voted for this post, but as much as much catching up as Intel has done on the CPU side, but graphics performance is downright god awful and in a few short months their CPU performance advantage they hold now will be gone again.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]even their CPU will likely be beat in every metric across the board vs. Tegra 4 and Apple's A7. [/quote<] Not in power efficiency. A7 might be able to beat 32nm Atom in efficiency, but it would be going against a 22nm Atom which is superior. [quote<]but graphics performance is downright god awful[/quote<] Intel licenses graphics cores just like Apple does. They picked a weak one for this chip because... poor planning? Misreading the market? Because it would've been competitive a year ago when Nokia was supposed to release an x86-based phone but pulled the plug? Whatever the reason, it was FAIL on Intel's part, but they can just as well use a beefier GPU in the next version (which is exactly what they're doing).

    • Evleos
    • 7 years ago

    “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.”

    I’m sure this has more to do with the W510 having a SSD than the Atom computational prowess vs Brazos.

      • dragosmp
      • 7 years ago

      It might in PCMark7, but it is faster in the MonteCarlo sym also. That is limited more by the memory hierarchy afaik (caches, bandwith, latency, etc) so the Atom may actually be faster. If it is faster I’d bet it’s the new IMC’s fault (dual channel, latency optimized). Tegra3 has probably the worse IMC in the current crop of SoCs, no wonder it gets beaten by Clovertrail in CPU-only tasks.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        See my reply above. Short version: Look at what a SSD vs HDD did for two similar A8-35x0M chips in that same table. Almost 2x improvement. Oh, look, the Atom had solid state storage and the E-350 had a HDD.

        The Monte Carlo simulation is highly parallel and integer heavy–perfect for Atom.

          • curtisb
          • 7 years ago

          See my reply to your reply.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    Was NeelyCam right… [i<]again[/i<]!?

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Oh, c’mon guys – where are my downthumbs!?

      I guess people don’t care anymore, since we only have a few hours to live. I heard that they discovered another mountain-sized asteroid yesterday that for some reason they didn’t notice before.. much like the one from two weeks ago but about 10x bigger.

      It’s heading towards Texas

      EDIT: Maybe I should take that back, or Chinese authorities come and take me away

        • dpaus
        • 7 years ago

        It’s a big, dumb rock – of course it’s heading for Texas.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    As I’ve said (having used one briefly), the Clovertrail Atoms are perfectly capable of running Windows 8 efficiently. I’m sure I’ll still see another 100 “x86 is inefficientzorz!!!” posts before the end of the year, but the smarter ARM fanboys have already shifted to different talking points and have conveniently forgotten how they said it was physically impossible for x86 to ever run in a tablet about 6 months ago.

    Intel still has big issues it needs to overcome in this area that have nothing to do with the “inefficient” x86 architecture:
    1. Intel needs to work on integrating better GPUs in a more timely manner;
    2. Intel needs to finally get Atom onto leading edge nodes. Really, that means 14 nm Atoms as early as possible in 2014.
    3. In cellphones, Intel needs to really push to get a good baseband including LTE integrated on-chip and get the Silvermont cores on the 22 nm process out the door quickly.

      • ChronoReverse
      • 7 years ago

      I’m glad vindication has finally come for that. As for your points, I’m hoping for #1 and #2 since I’m interested in a Cloverfield tablet but not the W510.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      I wonder if you can disable the secure boot on these so that you can wipe it and put on another OS.

    • cartman_hs
    • 7 years ago

    wow..great that for intel…i guess the next ATOM refresh will leave ARM behind, and the next after further behind, and next…..on and on until ARM = AMD?

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      AMD was stuck with a cost-inefficient process for ages. When they finally switched to TSMC (=Brazos), things started looking very very good, but then TSMC and GloFo both screwed up at the same time at 28nm, indirectly screwing AMD in the process (pun intended). Now, AMD is too deep in red ink to recover.

      “ARM” is a different animal. There are plenty of good companies making ARM-based chips on multiple processes. They won’t be able to compete in the performance high-end market, but at low-end they are very formidable.

      I’ve said it many a time that Intel’s process prowess will be the deciding factor in ARM-vs-Intel battle (and their design R&D resources are clearly a match for any ARM licensee and ARM itself). So, Intel will win this battle, but it’ll be an interesting one nonetheless.. especially with Samsung in the mix.

        • Joe Miller
        • 7 years ago

        Very good, factual, opinion. You must be getting the down-thumbs only because of the last sentence. It is not clear yet who would win at the end, if there as a win of any kind.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, I have to agree with Neely on this one, crystal ball not required.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    No data about boot times and program loading times, which is something I’m really curious about considering the eMMC-only storage interconnect. It does beat Brazos, though, which I didn’t expect.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Look closer. The PCMark7 test (which has a disk component) lets the Clover Train chip use solid state storage while the E-350 system is stuck with a HD. To see how much this can effect things, look at the differences between the A8-3520M system (with HDD) vs the A8-3500M (with SSD). The slower processor wins by just under 2x.

      In their Excel Monte Carlo simulation, they picked a highly parallel integer heavy test which is perfect for a HT enabled, FP weak chip like the Atoms. Let’s see how it does on Prime95:
      CPU Model 1024K 1280K 1536K 1792K 2048K 2560K 3072K 3584K 4096K Trial factoring (to 65 bits)
      AMD E-350 196.16 263.68 259.17 298.86 319.51 435.68 515.17 609.30 716.67 21.81
      D525@1,8GHz 285.51 381.99 474.73 474.55 509.03 658.84 926.54 970.80 1130.37 36.77

      The closest Atom I could find was the D525 clocked at 1.8GHz. The E-350 is a dual core running at 1.6GHz The D525 should be pretty similar to the ones in Anand’s article as they share the same core and clock speed. They are both dual core, quad thread chips. The C-50 is a dual core chip. The values ending is ‘K’ are the sizes of FFTs and their speed is reported in ms/itteration, so lower is better. The last column is for trial factoring and is measured in seconds, again, lower is better. Prime95 is heavily tuned floating point and memory intensive code–the large the FFT size, the more memory intensive.

      That’s a solid pounding right there. My point is that you can make a processor look good or bad by picking benchmarks that play to its strengths or are better optimized for one architecture than another.

      I don’t have enough data to say that the article was intentionally biased, but it’s clear to say that it clearly has some holes in it’s testing methodology.

      Edited to apologize for how the table formatting turned out.

        • curtisb
        • 7 years ago

        You’re ignoring two glaring, and performance affecting, facts.

        1. The W510 is not using a “traditional” SSD. While it is solid state, the performance of the interface and the flash memory used is closer to an SD card…which we all know is no where near as fast as an SSD, and can even be worse than an HDD. The Clover Trail SoC does not support a SATA interface, only eMMC. From another [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/6340/intel-details-atom-z2760-clovertrail-for-windows-8-tablets<]article on Anandtech[/url<]: [quote<]The SoC doesn't support SATA, just eMMC like most other smartphone/tablet SoCs. This is a bit of a disappointment as most eMMC controllers are pretty bad, but Intel tells us they've been working to improve things with the controllers that are out there.[/quote<] 2. The Clover Trail Atom is still an in-order CPU. Bay Trail, which is scheduled for next year, will be out-of-order and I expect the performance increase to be rather significant.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          1: I don’t believe I ignored them at all. We don’t know which eMMC chip that’s in there. SanDisk makes some very well performing devices.

          2: I don’t see how my analysis is effected by a chip that has neither been anounced nor shipped. One can speculate, but what else will be in the market then to counter it? I’d prefer to stick with what we have, know, and can measure. Unless your arguement is ‘a faster Atom is coming, so, somehow this one doesn’t magically suck so much’, then I’m not sure why you bring this other product up.

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