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Intel Atom vs. VIA Nano Platform Comparo

By: Cameron Johnson | Editorials in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Aug 11, 2008 4:00 am

Final Thoughts


Well, it's clear the battle for the budget and low power PC market is on. VIA has had driven this home for some time with its EPIA motherboards and now it looks like VIA is able to really push this with Nano. While it may have seemed like VIA finally had some competition, Intel really hasn't given us much to get excited about.


It's nice to see Intel has taken up the challenge to introduce a power efficient CPU like Atom with a companion chipset platform. However, a little more thought could have gone into its R&D. First off, the in-order design of the CPU severely limits its processing abilities. Its single channel memory approach really cripples it as well, especially when the IGP has to suck a portion of the system memory and bandwidth in order to operate. Add to this the limiting of peripherals with 10/100 Ethernet only and no HDMI or DVI-out for the IGP, making the Atom a bit too constrictive for a real HTPC market.


Bringing our attention onto VIA; they've done it again. Though, not surprisingly, they have had over six years to perfect the mini-ITX standard as well as having quite a long time to refine the CPU process to increase its processing power without raising the amount of power drawn. In fact, Nano doubles the performance of C7, adds 64-bit instructions yet consumes less power.


The platform for the Nano is extremely flexible. VIA hasn't put any constraints on itself with DVI and HDMI being possible as well as discrete VGA, HD audio and Gigabit LAN inclusions and a plethora of expansion possibilities with the CF card and Mini-PCI slot. VIA undeniably has a winner on its hands here.


Intel Atom

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VIA Nano

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