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Product Review

Atom 330 Dual Core Review

Atom 330 dual core processors are made by Intel, and are basically two of the single Diamondville N270 cores. They are often found in nettops, where power consumption is of little priority, but they pop up in netbooks just as well. Whether they’re worth it or not is up to your own decision.

An Atom 330 is basically two N270 cores slapped together in the same package, which means there is two of everything. There are two 26mm2 die size 47 million transistor computing cores clocked at 1.6GHz, 512 KB L2 cache per core, and 2.5W TDP per core as well. The total construction consumes 5 watts under typical heavy load, which makes it more of a desktop processor for thin clients than a mobile processor for ultra portables.

Benchmarks show that these processors are unfortunately not twice as fast as a single core variation, even in optimized applications. The reason for this is unknown, but the fact is that they are about 30-50% faster than an N270. We know that an N270 is about as fast as a Pentium M (dothan) core clocked at half of N270’s native speed. It makes the single core atom perform a 1M super pi calculation in 1 minute 40 seconds, where a 3GHz Core 2 Duo processor would have finished in 20 seconds.

The 330 is just as fast in single core applications, and there are many of those. Games are great examples, they’re often using just one core, which makes the 330 just as fast in most games as the N270. Or just as slow, it depends on your mood. What they’re truly exceptional at is multi thread task handling. If you often find yourself with 30 tabs open in your favorite browser, you’ll find that a dual core processor gets things done more quickly in these situations.

Manufacturers often opt for stronger graphics cores to go with the central processing unit, which is not an honor of the processor itself, but the overall configuration. These graphic cores are often from Nvidia, who make the ION platform. With applications that take advantage of the extra computing power lying in the graphic adapter calculations get really snappy.

Video playback, for example benefits from them, which makes the configuration able to play 1080p. In netbooks these chips also allow for an HDMI connector to put HD on the big screen. If you were thinking about getting a netbook with Atom 330 dual core processor, think again. They’re not as fast as you’d expect looking at the price tag, and the claimed 4 hours battery life you’d often see is not the performance on expects from a light-weight ultra portable computer either. For nettops, these CPUs are the way to go.

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