Atom vs. Nano

In order to test VIA’s new chip, I’ve benchmarked it against Intel’s Atom. There’s a lot of curiosity out there about how the two low-power processors stack up against each other, and this article attempts to satisfy that curiosity, but it’s important to note that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. According to Intel executive VP Sean Maloney, Atom is “built for low power and designed specifically for a new wave of Mobile Internet Devices and simple, low-cost PC’s.” As for Nano, VIA’s whitepaper (PDF) states: “It [Nano] will initially power a range of ‘slim ‘n’ light’ notebooks.” and “will also appear in ultra mobile mini-note devices and small form factor, green desktop systems for home and office use.”

While there is a certain degree of overlap between the two processors, it’s limited to the relative upper end of Atom’s target market and the relative lower end of Nano’s. This might not seem so evident at the moment, given the limited number of Atom configurations Intel is currently selling on the DIY market (one), but the two products are focused in two different directions. There are other factors that cloud the comparison, including an early reference platform from VIA and a horribly mismatched processor+chipset combination from Intel, but I’ve done what I can to tease those differences out and present the two products from a variety of angles. (news)

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