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Intel Atom vs AMD Brazos - Lord of the Netbooks

Intel Atom vs AMD Brazos - Lord of the Netbooks

Benchmarking and Performance

Benchmarking and Performance

Well, we already know who we are pitting against each other, but let us throw in an extra bonus in the form of a previously reviewed AMD Congo machine. This should give us a good indication of just how far the new Brazos platform has come. To round things up, we've also thrown in an NVIDIA Ion based nettop, the ASRock Nettop ION 330-BD.

Specifications/Notebook Toshiba NB520 Toshiba NB550D Acer Ferrari One ASRock Nettop ION 330-BD
Processor Intel Dual Core Atom N550 (1.5GHz) with 1MB L2 cache AMD Dual Core C-50 (1.0GHz) with 1MB L2 cache AMD Athlon X2 L310 (1.2GHz) with 1MB L2 cache Intel Atom 330 (1.6GHz, dual-core) with 1MB L2 cache
Chipset Intel NM10 AMD A50M FCH AMD 780G NVIDIA ION
Memory 1GB DDR3 1GB DDR3 4GB DDR2 2GB DDR2
HDD 1 x 250GB SATA - 5400RPM 1 x 250GB SATA - 5400RPM 1 x 500GB SATA - 5400RPM 1 x 500GB SATA - 5400RPM
Video Intel GMA 3150
(integrated graphics)

AMD Radeon HD 6250
(integrated graphics)

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 NVIDIA Ion
(integrated graphics with 256MB frame buffer)


PCMark Vantage

The PCMark Vantage benchmark shows that despite the lower clock speed of the AMD netbook, the overall scores are very close, with the Intel machine just slightly inching out the AMD netbook. While that's just the overall score, when focusing on specific test suites, the AMD machine does better in the memory and gaming section, while losing out to the Intel netbook in the productivity and storage performance segments - mainly because the latter tests are more focussed on the CPU throughput, but the differences don't really matter much as seen from the overall results.

As for the Acer Ferarri using the older AMD Congo platform, since the platform's made more for the ultra-portable / thin and light notebook form factor, CPU performance is likely to be stronger, and the overall scores as well as other test suites reflect this. The NVIDIA Ion ASRock nettop does beat the Brazos platform by a small margin, but with all the machines posting entry-level scores, you would be hard pressed to notice any difference in performance - especially since it's still running off an Atom CPU.


Futuremark 3DMark06

We fired up the popular 3DMark06 synthetic gaming benchmark and it's no surprise to find that Intel's Atom platform performed the worst with a paltry score of a measly 150 3DMarks. The AMD Brazos netbook scores close to 12 times better at 1792 3DMarks, and also beats the older Congo-based Acer Ferrari and the ASRock Ion nettop. Although the NVIDIA solution came pretty close, with scores this close, it may be hard to notice the performance difference. However, from a technological perspective, the AMD Brazos is generally a superior implementation since it achieved this via its built-in GPU, rather than the NVIDIA Ion platform that is still an external solution to complement the Intel Atom processor. The overall platform efficiency, thermals and footprint required tilt to the favor of the AMD Brazos.