Small laptops (netbooks) are still shipping mostly with Intel’s Atom processors, which have the most features, while AMD didn’t really enter the sub 10Watt sector yet. Intel’s 8.5Watt Atom N550 processors have two cores at 1.5GHz (2 cores, but 4 threads thanks to HyperThreading), an integrated graphics processor and a single channel DDR3 memory controller. It scored 575 points in the performance test according to CPUbenchmark.net. When comparing this processor to an AMD product we can only look at efficiency, because AMD doesn’t have low-power dual core processors. The 25Watt Phenom II X4 P920 1.6GHz processor may be the most appropriate AMD product for comparison, because it also offers 4 threads. This powerful Quad Core AMD mobile processor scored 1920 points, so let’s calculate performance-per-watt indicators:
Intel Atom N550: 575points / 8.5Watts = 67
AMD Phenom II X4 P920: 1920points / 25Watts = 76.8
This is a forced, theoretical comparison, which only shows how inefficient Atom processors are, despite their low power requirement. As it turns out, Atom processors are even less efficient than Core 2 Duo processors according to an older Tomshardware test. In the test they used an Atom 230 single core processor (with Hyperthreading) without integrated GPU or memory controller, that consumes 4Watts for 316 points according to CPUBenchmark.net and a Core 2 Duo E7200 processor.
Intel Atom 230: 316points / 4Watts = 79
The conclusion of these tests is that the Core 2 Duo design was one of the best ever made, while even the most recent Atom design is worse than AMD Mobile products.
The ASUS Eee PC 1015PW is based on the Intel Atom N550 1.5GHz dual core (+HT = 4threads) processor, which offers an extended battery autonomy and a 4-thread parallel processing never before seen in netbooks. Even if it is a relatively slow processor, Windows 7 and applications run smoothly if there’s enough RAM installed (usually 2GB is optimal if you’re planning to use a page file too).
A 10” LED-backlit LCD panel serves as monitor in most small size laptops, and the ASUS Eee PC 1015PW is no exception. 1024 x 600 is the maximum (native) resolution, but it doesn’t bother the average user because the Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics processor is also very slow, only 200MHz core speed and it doesn’t have its own memory (it uses shared memory). This also means no FullHD video playback, not a big loss if you consider the small size of the screen. It comes with a 250GB or 320GB classic hard drive and ASUS also offers 500GB of on-line space for backup or whatever.
The ASUS Eee PC 1015PW has a strange mix of connectivity features: a 10/100MBPS LAN adapter, Wi-Fi B/G/N, Bluetooth 3.0, three USB 2.0 ports, multicard reader slot and a 1.3 megapixel web cam. Not often do we see slow LAN and USB connections paired up with fast Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
No official price or release date has been confirmed yet, but I can safely say that it won’t be a cheap netbook, considering the three special exterior designs in which it will be made available: Purple Rain, Gold Dust and Angel Skin. Its price should be similar to the one required to be paid for purchasing the Karim Rashid ASUS netbook.11
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