A Guide to Choosing the Best Netbook Processor 2012


Processors designed for netbook generally use very little power but also tend to have limited performance. We can notice that all processors on netbooks are slower than the standard processor on laptops. This means that a netbook will be slower when running heavier programs. However, netbooks are perfect for light processes like web surfing, email, and word processing.

Below are common processors found in the netbook segment:

Intel Atom

Intel Atom is the most common processor available for the netbooks. On December 21, 2009, Intel announced the next generation of Atom processors, including the N450, with average power consumption down 20 percent over previous generation. Intel Atom processors provide long battery life so you can stay connected on the go longer, and the processors can enable more energy efficient designs as they are based on 45nm Hi-k next generation Intel Core microarchitecture. Plus, Intel Atom processors include integrated graphics, video, and memory controllers built directly into the CPU.

After the second half of 2010, Intel has released Pineview Atom chips (N455, N475, D425 and D525) that support DDR3 memory. On August 23, 2010 Intel has released Atom N550 (1.50GHz, 1MB L2 cache) – first dual-core processor designed for 10.1-inch netbooks. On March 1, 2011, Intel released new versions of Pineview Atom N570 dual core chip, providing netbook users Internet access on the go and a more responsive experience in the same compact form factor and great battery life as single-core Intel Atom processors. Running at 1.66 GHz, these processors support four threads, with 1 MB of L2 cache, 8.5W TDP and DDR3, helping spur further innovation around netbooks and other devices requiring the low power goodness of Intel Atom architecture.

Intel released their third-generation “Cedar Trail” platform based on 32 nm process technology in the fourth quarter of 2011. Intel states that it “will feature improvements in graphics capabilities including Blu-ray 2.0 support, a dedicated media engine for full 1080p playback and additional digital display options including HDMI output and DisplayPort. New features will include Intel Wireless Music, Intel Wireless Display, PC Synch and Fast Boot. In addition, the enhancements made in power consumption and TDP will enable fanless designs with longer battery life.”

As of February the 14th 2012 the only available netbook based on Intels new Atom-CPU (N2600) is the Acer Aspire One D270. Intel still struggles to deliver reliable and stable drivers for the GMA 3600 IGP. So far the driver is only available for Windows 7 32bit and the advertised features are not yet working correctly, the biggest flaw so far are 3D-graphicsacceleration and GPU accelerated h264-videodecoding, which does not offer sufficient performance to decode Video at resolutions of and over 720p at steady framerates.

Processor Number Code Name Clock Speed Bus Speed Cache Max TDP Number of Cores Instruction Set Integrated Graphics Memory Launch Date
Atom N2800
Cedarview
(32 nm)
1.86 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
6.5 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR3 1066MHz December 28,2011
Atom N2600
Cedarview
(32 nm)
1.60 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
3.5 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR3 800MHz December 28, 2011
Atom D2700 Cedarview
(32 nm)
2.13 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L3 Cache
10 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR3 800/1066MHz December 28, 2011
Atom D2500 Cedarview
(32 nm)
1.86 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
10 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR3 800/1066MHz December 28, 2011
Atom N570 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.66 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
8.5 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR3 800MHz March 1, 2011
Atom N550 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.50 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
8.5 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR3 800MHz August 23, 2010
Atom D525 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.80 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
13 W Dual 64-bit Yes DDR2/DDR3 800MHz June 21, 2010
Atom N475 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.83 GHz 2.5 GT/s 512 KB
L2 Cache
6.5 W Single 64-bit Yes DDR2/DDR3 800MHz June 1, 2010
Atom N455 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.66 GHz 2.5 GT/s 512 KB
L2 Cache
6.5 W Single 64-bit Yes DDR2/DDR3 800MHz June 1, 2010
Atom N470 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.83 GHz 2.5 GT/s 512 KB
L2 Cache
6.5 W Single 64-bit Yes DDR2 667MHz March 1, 2010
Atom N450 Pineview
(45 nm)
1.66 GHz 2.5 GT/s 512 KB
L2 Cache
5.5 W Single 64-bit Yes DDR2 667MHz December 21, 2009
Atom N280 Diamondville
(45 nm)
1.66 GHz 667 MHz FSB 512 KB
L2 Cache
2.5 W Single 32-bit No February 6, 2009
Atom N270 Diamondville
(45 nm)
1.60 GHz 533 MHz FSB 512 KB
L2 Cache
2.5 W Single 32-bit No June 3, 2008
Atom 330 Diamondville
(45 nm)
1.60 GHz 533 MHz FSB 1 MB
L2 Cache
8 W Dual 64-bit No June 3, 2008
Atom Z530 Silverthorne
(45 nm)
1.60 GHz 533 MHz FSB 512 KB
L2 Cache
2 W Single 32-bit No April 2, 2008
Atom Z520 Silverthorne
(45 nm)
1.33 GHz 533 MHz FSB 512 KB
L2 Cache
2 W Single 32-bit No April 2, 2008

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Atom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Atom_microprocessors
http://www.intel.com/products/processor/atom/
Full Intel Atom Processors Comparisions

AMD Processors

The direct competitor of the Intel Atom processor line is the AMD Fusion C- and E-series. The C-series (C-30: single core, C-50: dual cores) has a TDP (9W) similar to the Atom, the higher clocked E-series (E-240: single core, E-350 and E-450: dual core) comes with a TDP of 18 Watts what corresponds more to an Atom including a dedicated GPU (e.g. ION2, ATI 5430). The processors include a single or dual core 64-bit CPU with out-of-order execution, DDR3 memory controller and an 80-core Radeon GPU. The performance of the E-series is significantly better – up to 326.5% better game performance.

Processor Number Code Name Clock Speed Bus Speed Cache Max TDP Socket Number of Cores Instruction Set Launch Date
E2-Series E2-1800
Zacate
(40 nm)
1.7 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
18W BGA-413 Dual 64-bit June 6, 2012
E1-Series E1-1200
Zacate
(40 nm)
1.4 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
18W BGA-413 Dual 64-bit June 6, 2012
E-Series E-450 Zacate
(40 nm)
1.65 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
18W BGA-413 Dual 64-bit August 22, 2011
E-Series E-350 Zacate
(40 nm)
1.60 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
18W BGA-413 Dual 64-bit January 4, 2011
C-Series C-60 Ontario
(40 nm)
1.00 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
9W BGA-413 Dual 64-bit August 22, 2011
C-Series C-50 Ontario
(40 nm)
1.00 GHz 2.5 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
9W BGA-413 Dual 64-bit January 4, 2011
C-Series C-30 Ontario
(40 nm)
1.20 GHz 2.5 GT/s 512 KB
L2 Cache
9W BGA-413 Single January 4, 2011
Athlon II K325 Geneva
(45 nm)
1.30 GHz 2.0 GT/s 2 MB
L2 Cache
12W S1G4 Dual 64-bit May 15, 2010
Athlon II K125 Geneva
(45 nm)
1.70 GHz 2.0 GT/s 1 MB
L2 Cache
12W S1G4 Single 64-bit May 12, 2010
Athlon Neo X2 L335 Congo
(65 nm)
1.60 GHz 512 KB
L2 Cache
18 W ASB1 Dual June, 2009
Athlon Neo MV-40 Huron
(65 nm)
1.60 GHz 1.6 GT/s 512 KB
L2 Cache
15 W ASB1 Single January 9, 2009

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_mobile_microprocessors
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_Fusion

If you want your netbook as your primary computer, and you have a number of multimedia and gaming applications to be used then consider a dual-core netbook with the Intel Atom N2600 and Atom N2800 or AMD E1-1200 and E2-1800. You will lose some battery life, but get much better performance.

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