Is the Intel Atom still around? How does it compare to ARM A9?

desura

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Mar 22, 2013
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Lately I've been thinking that it should be possible to make like a pc gaming handheld console with an intel atom chip. No advanced 3d stuff, but indie games like Braid should work fine.

How well could the intel atom work out for this?
 
Feb 25, 2011
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It would work fine, actually.

Here's a review of a recent Atom-powered tablet.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6827/samsung-ativ-smart-pc-revisiting-clover-trail-convertibles

There are benchmarks vs. ARM CPUs.

Personally, I really wish Nintendo would give up on the whole DS thing, and just make a Bluetooth D-Pad & Button pad that clipped onto a tablet or smartphone, then start publishing their games in the Android and iTMS app stores. Hell, they'd probably make more money, since we couldn't buy the games used anymore.
 

monstercameron

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Feb 12, 2013
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from what I have seen, a9 and atom have similar levels of performance.
the a9 has 2.5dmips
the atom is ~2.5dmips aswell(calculated as dual core, I dont know if I should factor in 4 threads instead of 2 cores)

why would you want an intel atom when an amd hondo/temash apu would be much better?
 

2timer

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Apr 20, 2012
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It would work fine, actually.

Here's a review of a recent Atom-powered tablet.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6827/samsung-ativ-smart-pc-revisiting-clover-trail-convertibles

But are benchmarks vs. ARM CPUs.

Personally, I really wish Nintendo would give up on the whole DS thing, and just make a Bluetooth D-Pad & Button pad that clipped onto a tablet or smartphone, then start publishing their games in the Android and iTMS app stores. Hell, they'd probably make more money, since we couldn't buy the games used anymore.

That would be awesome, except Nintendo would never agree to Google's licensing fees unless they were facing extinction.
 

desura

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Mar 22, 2013
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from what I have seen, a9 and atom have similar levels of performance.
the a9 has 2.5dmips
the atom is ~2.5dmips aswell(calculated as dual core, I dont know if I should factor in 4 threads instead of 2 cores)

why would you want an intel atom when an amd hondo/temash apu would be much better?

how about performance per watt?

Wasn't aware of AMD's offerings.

I've been getting into Desura games lately (see my SN) and I bet it would be cool to have like a little Desura console.
 

desura

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Mar 22, 2013
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That would be awesome, except Nintendo would never agree to Google's licensing fees unless they were facing extinction.

If Nintendo Jettisoned Hardware and reallocated the money to more software studios, they would overall make more money.

What's probably going on is that there's some entrenched interest keeping them in hardware, probably a series of local tax subsidies and simple inertia.
 

sequoia464

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Feb 12, 2003
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why would you want an intel atom when an amd hondo/temash apu would be much better?

I just picked up a HP Envy X2 with a Clover Trail. I would have preferred a Temash but at this point a release date seems to be shrouded in mystery, with tablets maybe being available next fall/winter? Not certain of this at all however as information is hard to come by.

Do you have any info on this??
 

monstercameron

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Feb 12, 2013
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I just picked up a HP Envy X2 with a Clover Trail. I would have preferred a Temash but at this point a release date seems to be shrouded in mystery, with tablets maybe being available next fall/winter? Not certain of this at all however as information is hard to come by.

Do you have any info on this??
I dont know much either, just saying why associate intel atom and graphics rather than an amd hondo or eventually temash.
 

Exophase

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Apr 19, 2012
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A9 tends to be a little more powerful clock for clock if comparing with a recent version of GCC. Something like 10-15%. Varies a lot depending on application. Atom probably has better prefetch and lower latency L2 which can be a big deal for some programs. It will also do better on SIMD a lot of the time. Other than that A9 has a decent natural advantage.

But most A9s out there are 40nm and won't clock as high as Atoms, they'll also tend to not have as good perf/W vs Medfield due to the process disadvantage. A comparison of an A9 SoC on 32nm or 28nm vs Medfield could look very favorable. There are 32nm Exynos 4 chips, Rockchip A9s made on GF's 28nm, and eventually there'll be Tegra 4i.
 
Mar 10, 2006
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A9 compares favorably to the Saltwell core, but every ARM SoC I've seen has dramatically worse L2$ latency and memory bandwidth than the "Medfield" and "Clover Trail(+)" platforms.

That's why you see the Atom doing so well despite its ancient-a$$ core...it's all about the memory.

Should be fun to see what the new "Silvermont" core will look like. They're doubling memory bandwidth on "Bay Trail" SoC, so I would hope that is done to service a much more beastly compute core (and 4 of them instead of 2).
 

desura

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Mar 22, 2013
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Any gamers here play Desura games?

They're really something.

Like, those graphics look like they could be done on like a Pentium II 300 mhz.

If you wanted to make an x86 console that ran a very stripped version of windows or linux to run desura games...how low could you go?
 

Exophase

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Apr 19, 2012
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A9 compares favorably to the Saltwell core, but every ARM SoC I've seen has dramatically worse L2$ latency and memory bandwidth than the "Medfield" and "Clover Trail(+)" platforms.

Whose measurements are you looking at? L2 latency is worse but I'd say dramatically worse is an exaggeration. Cortex-A8s often had comparable or better L2 latency than contemporary Atoms. The reason why is Cortex-A8 and Atom have tightly coupled and core dedicated L2 caches while Cortex-A9s have a shared L2 cache that sits on the other side of the main bus. Compare the more numbers for the better implementations (primarily Samsung):

http://www.7-cpu.com/cpu/Cortex-A8.html
http://www.7-cpu.com/cpu/Cortex-A9.html
http://www.7-cpu.com/cpu/Atom.html

Cortex-A9 will be better at hiding L2 latency so it can suffer a little higher, although this doesn't apply to cases where the Atom core's using SMT.

As for bandwidth.. it's a tricky comparison because it depends a lot on what the cache configuration is like and what the tests are like. Whether or not you're going to cached memory and whether or not the cache is write allocated makes a big difference. x86s do have the advantage of having memcpy and memset instructions which is easier to optimize than a function doing the same thing. But not all bandwidth will be utilized this way.

As for the peak theoretically bandwidth as dictated by the DRAM interface Intel has more or less kept parity with ARM.

I think prefetch is still going to make a big difference.. ARM is still trying to get this right.. it's a big part of why the r4 A9 revision can offer a decent perf/MHz boost..
 

Netscorer

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Jan 27, 2002
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You would be better off with AMD Kabini or Temash over Atom.

Except there nothing out there yet based on these chips while Atom-based tablets are all over the place. And I would expect first AMD devices to be mired in driver issues. It took Intel almost 4 months to work out all Clover Trail bugs and provide trouble-free drivers. How long would it take AMD to do so? By fall, Bay Trail Atom CPUs are gonna be out with 22nm technology, leaving AMD in the dust, battery life wise.
 

Fox5

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Jan 31, 2005
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Except there nothing out there yet based on these chips while Atom-based tablets are all over the place. And I would expect first AMD devices to be mired in driver issues. It took Intel almost 4 months to work out all Clover Trail bugs and provide trouble-free drivers. How long would it take AMD to do so? By fall, Bay Trail Atom CPUs are gonna be out with 22nm technology, leaving AMD in the dust, battery life wise.

There's last year's MSI Windpad 110W.
http://www.amazon.com/MSI-WindPad-11.../dp/B0056EXUBQ

And Acer's Iconia Tab W500
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Iconia-W5...conia+tab+w500

Both run AMD chips with significantly better graphics performance than current Atoms. Although some of the Core based tablets are as low as like $600, so they would be a better choice anyway.
 

Enigmoid

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Sep 27, 2012
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There's last year's MSI Windpad 110W.
http://www.amazon.com/MSI-WindPad-11.../dp/B0056EXUBQ

And Acer's Iconia Tab W500
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Iconia-W5...conia+tab+w500

Both run AMD chips with significantly better graphics performance than current Atoms. Although some of the Core based tablets are as low as like $600, so they would be a better choice anyway.

While the size and operating system quickly suggests a comparison with Asus' Eee Slate, the installed performance configuration proves to be very different. The Iconia W500's hardware sector relies on AMD technology, which is comprised of a C-50 CPU (2x1GHz) with integrated HD 6250 graphics unit (Fusion). However, the latest technology such as Turbo Boost and Hyper Threading won't be found. This configuration can be classified as on a similar level as the dual core Atom with Nvidia's Ion graphics in terms of performance. It also barely differs from netbooks that were previously equipped with AMD technology, such as the Toshiba NB550D. There is a 2 GB RAM available, which can't be upgraded. A Sandisk SSD module is used as the mass memory.

Notebookcheck. This is one of the old atoms, not one of the new 32nm atoms.
Geekbench of c-50 is less than 1000, atom z2760 is around 1400. Graphics are about twice as good in the c-50.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6827/samsung-ativ-smart-pc-revisiting-clover-trail-convertibles/4

Does manage to beat out tegra 3.