Intel, however, is not alone in its quest to provide
low-power, low-cost processor for mobile and desktop use. VIA is also throwing
its hat into the ring with its 65nm Nano processor. VIA officially
announced its Nano in late May of this year and promised parts ranging in
speed from 800MHz on up to 1.8GHz.
Preliminary benchmarks provided by VIA showed the Nano
outpacing Intel's Atom in many benchmarks -- today, PC
Perspective and Hot
Hardware put those claims to the test.
Both sites took an Intel Atom 230 (1.6GHz) processor paired
with an Intel BOXD945GCLF motherboard and pitted it against a VIA Nano L2100
(1.8GHz) processor with a VIA Nano Reference Motherboard.
Although the VIA Nano was clocked 12.5% higher than the
Intel Atom used in both site's testing, Hot
Hardware found that the Nano was anywhere from 15% to 20% faster than the
Atom. In many cases, the delta between the two was much greater in the Nano's
favor. PC Perspective
also found that under load, however, the difference in power consumption between the two
processors was 17 watts with the Atom having the upper hand. Both sites
came away impressed with VIA's Nano platform and its openness compared to the
relative closed Intel Atom platform.
"Vendors are not allowed to build Atom motherboards
with PCI Express, digital video outputs or more than one memory slot,"
said PC Perspective. "VIA on the
other hand is openly courting board manufacturers to put as much technology on
a mini-ITX design as they can - as long as they DO build one."
VIA sees the Nano processor as its ticket to success while
Intel appears to fear Atom will cannibalize its Celeron sales."
"It's clear from our limited testing of the VIA Nano
that the company has a strong product at the ready," added Hot Hardware. "Virtually across the
board, the Nano showed good performance versus its primary competition, and it
has a number of other things going for it as well, like pin-compatibility with
the established C7 core, an open platform, and hardware acceleration for
certain types of encryption."
It will be interesting to see how much support VIA gets from
OEMs with its Nano processor. OEMs which choose to use VIA's
OpenBook reference design will no doubt take advantage of the new chip and
HP might just throw out the VIA C7-M currently residing in the 2133
Mini-Note PC in favor of the Nano.
quote: Using the same method to gauge the results of our CineBench 10 test, we find that the VIA Nano used 63,434 watt-seconds (Joules) of energy to render the scene while the Intel Atom used 65,893 watt-seconds (Joules) of energy - an advantage of 3.8% to the VIA CPU.
quote: Really, I was expecting -far- more performance from the nano. As it stands, it's not beating out the atom by much once the clock speed advantage is factored in, and it's consuming far more power.
quote: Actually its right on par, if you take into accout how much extra time it takes the atom to process the exact same tasks. For example in one of the benchmarks, the nano took around 30% less time to encode an mp3 which means it gets to idle for that much longer, in this case the nano actually consumed less power when taking this into account. Considering that processors like these are not going to be used even close to 100% of the time, this makes a huge difference.