Monday, June 4, 2012

An Introduction to the 2nd Generation Intel Atom Processors

Netbooks with a Pineview processor bear this sticker
The end of December 2009 brought the first of Intel's next wave of netbook processors. This time, they included a memory controller and the GPU built into the processor itself. The single-core CPU's (N4xx) were slightly faster than a Diamondville at the same clock speed, save for the N435. Intel also released dual-core Atoms (N5x0) that boosted CPU performance significantly. Unfortunately, the graphics processor, GMA 3150, in Pineviews were even weaker than the GMA 950's, with performance a bit better than a GeForce2 MX 400 (depending on the application). On the upside, the GMA 3150 can access 384 MB of system RAM, provides full MPEG-2 acceleration, and better OpenGL support. Users of Pineview netbooks are even more limited in gaming scope than those with a Diamondville, although both platforms can likely play the same games. Just keep graphical settings low on newer games and you'll be fine.