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Intel Atom N2800 vs Atom N570 vs AMD e-450/C50 – benchmark comparison

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , updated on November 11, 2013

You might think netbooks are dead now when more and better tablets enter the market every week. But that’s not necessarily true, these mini laptops still have their edges over tablets and they will continue to be better cheap productivity tools, at least for the time being.

It is true however that attention is shifting away from 10 inch netbooks and among the many factors that cause this change, there is one above all: in a world dominated by Intel Atom platforms, netbooks offer overall sluggish performances, both during everyday use and when dealing with multimedia content. AMD introduced their Fusion line and APUs like the e-350 and the c-50 quickly gained fans, but for netbooks, the C-50 only brought Full HD playing abilities and not a snappier overall experience, as CPU wise, AMD’s processor for netbooks is slower than Intel’s dual-cores.

You probably know that we’re going to see some changes on the front this Fall. First, AMD recently announced faster Fusion processor for mini laptops, the C-60 (meant for 10 inchers) and the E-450 (meant for nettops rather than mini laptops, although there will be exceptions).

The C-60 is a dual-core 1.33 GHz processor with Radeon 6200 graphics, clocked at 400 MHZ. Thus, we get a 33% and 50% improvement on clock speed for the CPU and GPU over the C-50.

On the other hand, Intel are working on their new Cedar Trail ATom platform. They announced some new processors that should be part of netbooks this Fall, with the Atom N2800 being the fastest of them. This one is a 1.86 GHz dual-core CPU with 1 MB of Cache, HT and improved graphics, now DirectX 10.1 capable and offering HD decoding (MPEG2, VC1, AVC, and H.264) with support for Blu-Ray 2.0, HDMI 1.3a and two different displays.

However, the CedarTrail platform ain’t that much different from the current PineTrail we got on CPUs like the Atom N570. And you can see this from the very few benchmarks available right now, from the guys at Blogeee.net , comparing the Atom N2800, N570 and the E-450 APU from AMD. Of course, there’s no terms of comparison between the two and the later AMD Fusion processor, it would have been nice to have them compared with the AMD C-60. Since we don’t have benchmark results for that one though, we’ll add some comparisons to the C-50 we tested on the Asus EEE PC 1015B.

PCMark 05 analyses the platform as a whole and you can see the following results:

  • Atom N2800 – 2250 points
  • Atom N570 – 2020 points
  • AMD C-50 – N/A
  • AMD E-450 – 3310 points

Unfortunately I haven’t run PCMark 05 on the 1015B and I’ve failed to find any results online for the C-50 (maybe because it’s only a 1.0 GHz processor?). Still, you should expect probably around 15 to 20 lower score for the AMD APU, based on the difference from other CPU benchmarks.

Early benchmark results

Early benchmark results

As for graphics, we have sopme results from 3DMark 06, below:

  • Atom N2800 – 440 points
  • Atom N570 – 144 points
  • AMD C-50 – 1790 points
  • AMD E-450 – 2876 points

Pretty obvious that the C-50 is a clear winner here. We’ve excluded the E-450 from our judgements, as it plays in another league.

All in all, the Atom N2800 looks a bit faster than the current PineTrail Atoms, with GPU scores 3 times better based on those tests. Still, take them with grain and salt, they were conducted on test platforms and not on final release products. In terms of graphics though, N2800 is definitely not a match for the current AMD C-50 . And with the C-60 just around the corner, it might not be a match in terms of raw CPU power either.

In fact, the only place where the new Cedar Trail Atom wins is TDP: it needs less energy than its AMD counterparts, with a TDP of only 6.5 W (9W for the AMDs). So, the N2800 should run for longer and also cooler, which will make it a processor suited for ultra-thin devices with a fanless design.

As a wrap-up though, based on these early tests, if you’ll be looking for performance inside a 10 incher this Fall, AMD’s C-50/C-60 remain your better options, allowing good overall experience, plus the option to run 1080p content and some games.

Is this the future for Cedar Trail Atoms?

Is this the future for Cedar Trail Atom mini laptops?

The Atom N2800 will offer Full HD playing as well, but only barely and should be found in ultra-sleek and portable devices, decently snappy in everyday tasks. And who knows, maybe it will help melt the differences between netbooks and tablets and we’ll see some affordable gadgets similar to the Samsung Series 7, running Windows&Meego (or maybe even Android) and allowing 10+ hours of life every charge. Those would be cool, ay?

Update: We’ve got some more details on the Intel Atom N2800 in the meantime, as I’ve reviewed the Asus 1025C, 1025CE and 1225C, all mini laptops built around this CPU, with different features and screen sizes. So you’d better click those links for the reviews, if you’re interested on how is the N2800 ATOM performing during daily use.

Also, I’ve got to play with the slightly slower Intel Atom N2600, the new Atom entry-level CPU, still a dual-core with decent graphics, but slower than the N2800. You can read more about its performances in this post that compares the N2600 with the Atom N550 and the AMD C50.

Still, I’m looking forward for the Atom D2700 processor inside a mini laptop, that would be punchier than the N2800, as the benchmarks in this other post prove, while providing overall decent battery life.

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", Editor-in-Chief at TLBHD.com. I absolutely hate carrying around heavy stuff, that's why I'm fond of mini-laptops and portable computers. I'm primarily using such devices and have been testing them for many years now. Get in touch in the comments section below.

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    August 26, 2011 at 7:56 am

    The 1GHz C-50 actually scores a little below the 1.5GHz N550, which being clocked 500Mhz faster gives a bit of an edge even though the Bobcat core is a more efficient processor.

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+C-50

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Atom+N550+%40+1.50GHz

    While even the low end N2600 clocks at 1.66GHz and so should be more equivalent to the N570 for CPU performance.

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Atom+N570+%40+1.66GHz

    Meaning the C-60 may not make up the CPU performance difference, which counts on AMD Turbo Core over clocking feature to get the higher performance and there is a difference between average performance and max performance when dealing with over clocking.

    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+C-60+APU+with+Radeon+HD+Graphics

    But even if it does the even faster 1.86GHz N2800 give Intel the advantage in the mobile netbook range that Ontario competes with.

    Besides AMD’s Turbo Core only benefits one core, as it works by over clocking one core but under clocks the other to balance out power usage.  So would only benefit single core operation and may actually get in the way of the normal multi-tasking advantage that the AMD Fusion chips normally have.  While like Intel Turbo Boost, it has to balance performance with over heating concerns and relies on how well the system predicts when it needs the performance boost and isn’t always running in that mode.

    GPU performance gains with AMD’s Turbo Core though should widen the performance gap for graphical performance.  Even with Nvidia ION discrete solution factored in.

    Though 1.65GHz E-450, with Turbo Core, is expected to exceed the CPU performance of even the 2.103GHz D2700 ATOM.  So Intel only holds on to its CPU performance lead versus Ontario and still loses to the Zacate.

    But I agree, the only significant selling point is the run time advantage for Intel solution.  While AMD clearly has them beat on GPU performance and higher end solution.

    Though some Cedar Trail systems may be coupled with a discrete AMD graphic solution instead of Nvidia ION for premium netbook solutions like the Asus Lamborghini VX6S, mixing it up a bit, but such examples will be very rare.

    While we’ve yet to see how effective AMD shall apply their upcoming 28nm update next year, while Intel won’t go 22nm with the ATOM till Silvermont comes out in 2013 but that will also introduce whole new architecture for the ATOM and we’ll see then which is the better solution.

    On the PowerVR based Cedar Trail GMA, barring any issues with the graphic drivers it should be a little more than just barely handling full HD.  The SGX545 is a slight improvement over the previous SGX535 that the GMA 500 and GMA 600 are based on.  Bit rate support should be up to 35Mbps, which is pretty high.

    Power efficiency is another advantage, like Anandtech reported that the GMA 600 could handle 1080P h.264, both base and High profile, at up to 20Mbps and on the Moorestown it managed a 1.1W platform power usage. 

    AMD GPU’s are much more powerful but they also use much more power.

    Not to mention Cedar Trail finally brings in support for HDMI/Display Port, along with minor pluses like Intel WiDi for wireless streaming of up to 600P (though its proprietary and you’ll need to purchase a receiver), etc.

    Internal display port support also means Cedar Trail can support much higher resolution screens.  Though with only up to triple the performance of GMA 3150 means gaming will only be a little bit better than traditional netbook experience.

    So it’ll mainly be a raw GPU performance advantage for AMD, with features a little more even.

    • Mike

      August 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Wow, thanks James for the extra info. I’m looking forward to get my hands on a first Cedar Trail netbook, hopefully the new Asus ones. Still, I was expecting more for the new platform in terms of speed. Intel will probably hold pole position on 10 inchers, but in the 11.6 – 12 inch class I doubt they’ll be able to compete with AMD. Maybe they’ll launch some Low power Core lines for that though…

      • Anonymous

        August 27, 2011 at 12:13 am

        Well, aside from the GPU, Cedar Trail is more or less Pine Trail with a 32nm update and some new features thrown in.  So performance gains is mainly from the manufacture shrink, and the new GPU, but for significant performance gains there has to be a architectural change to really make a noticeable improvemnt, which Intel won’t do for the ATOM until Silvermont.

        So performance gains are actually within expected range you would get from just the clock speed increase.

        Though, Intel is emphasizing the power efficiency advantage for Cedar Trail by also improving idling and standby performance.  So we can expect much longer standby times.  While also starting to push some of their newer technology, like the aforementioned Intel WiDi, along with Wireless audio, Fast Flash Standby, and a few other little tweaks that may require OS support to fully appreciate like always synced, etc.

        Intel’s overall game plan seems to be to try to stabilize the market ranges.  Like remember one of the reasons they imposed limits on the ATOM originally was to help separate them from their higher end offerings but now that they have to really compete in both features and performance they need a new way to divide the markets and protect the profit margins of their higher end offerings.

        So I believe they are angling Ultrabooks as a proverbial line in the sand between the ultra mobile and the higher end laptops.  Thus buffering their higher end offerings while boosting the ATOM line just enough to buy them time to get the Silvermont update through.  

        Mind that even with the higher clock speeds that Cedar Trail TDP is still lower than Pine Trail. So they can still increase performance a little more if they need to buy additional time by just raising the clock speed a little more and put out a higher performance chip. Though that would come at the price of some of their power efficiency advantage but shows they have some leeway.

        While all this also simultaneously helps set up the market for their new ultra low voltage laptop range, which seems they are shooting for more than half the present TDP range for their Core series at 10-15W range and positions them to have a market range between the ATOM and higher end Core series.  Not to mention threaten AMD’s Fusion Zacate position.

        All of which would explain why Intel is so set on establishing the Ultrabook market and why they are being very stubborn on how it will be set up as they are establishing long term plans, which I believe we’ll start to see take root once Ivy Bridge comes out and allows them to lower costs and TDP to the ranges they are trying to get to. While right now their efforts are just to establish the market and convince other companies it’ll be a good investment.

        For now though, Cedar Trail should keep Intel’s low end offerings current and buy them the time they need to position themselves for a majory push to both strengthen their low end Sub-notebook market with Silvermont and finally a serious push into the mobile market, first with whatever they got planned to replace Cloverfield, and then with the 14nm Airmont we’ll see if they start pulling ahead, and finally they even plan to go 10nm by 2016.

        So while even the upcoming 32nm Cloverfield will similarly just be a stopgap until after Silvermont comes out, but then they should finally be ready to seriously compete with ARM in the mobile market, which along with Windows 8 should really shake up the market.

        Potentially making the market range below Ultrabooks a practical ware zone 😛

        Meanwhile AMD will seems to be alternating with Intel with slightly smaller nm shrinks after each of Intel’s releases.  So they’re now headed to 28nm, just as Intel is almost ready to go to 22nm, but should even out a bit once they reach 14nm and by then we should see what role AMD will play and whether they can successfully make a bid for the mobile market as well…  Which is mostly the end game for Intel’s present push to reduce manufacturing size and improve power and thermal efficiencies.

        While ARM is going in the opposite direction, developing more powerful solutions that will ultimately start using more power and generate more heat as they finally start to try to enter the tradtional PC market.

        So will be interesting to see where they start to meet and blur what makes them different.

  2. Anonymous

    August 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Update: VR-Zone has released an exclusive Cedar Trail benchmark with a better comparison to Pine Trail ATOMs…

    http://vr-zone.com/articles/exclusive-first-intel-cedar-trail-benchmarks/13413.html

    The N2600 seems to score a little below the N570, which suggests they likely optimized it for minimal power use like the Z-Series ATOM.  So would be a little sluggish in responsiveness than it otherwise should be but considering it’s going to basically replace the single core ATOMs that’s still a nice improvement and at max TDP of 3.5W should make for impressive run times.

    • Mike

      August 31, 2011 at 12:19 am

      Well, as long as they have the N2800 in the premium 10 inchers that will go for around $350 tops, I’m satisfied. If they’ll onyl stick with N2600 and lower on 10 inch netbooks and have the N2800 on bigger devices, that would be a bummer. But hopefully they won’t , since the N2800 ain’t really a match for the AMD E350 and I doubt many would want more battery life and poorer performances on 11.6 -12 inchers. But who knows.

      Still, the conclusion of that post makes a lot of sense to me. Despite these new Atom lines not being impressive, I doubt many producers would jump on AMD’s wagon too soon

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