Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Intel's Atom — First Benchmarks and a Full PC Review

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the nuclear-power dept.

Intel 155

Barence writes "PC Pro has received, benchmarked and discussed the first Intel Atom processor to be seen in the wild. A full analysis of the Atom processor itself is accompanied by a full review of the first PC — yes it's a PC, not a laptop — to use one. The benchmark results are pretty much as expected, but it's the power savings that really excite. And as a rep from the PC maker, Tranquil, joked — they could have left the Atom CPU uncooled if they'd really wanted to prove a point, as it's the old graphics chip that produces 70% of the heat coming from the motherboard. Exciting times ahead for the upcoming Atom-based Eee and friends." MojoKid was one of several readers, too, to mention the upcoming Eee Box mini-desktop from Asus (also Atom-based), which is supposed to start from $299, writing "although the actual dimensions are listed, the image from ASUS' booth really gives a sense of scale. In the picture, the Eee Box is standing next to a paperback book."

cancel ×

155 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yay! (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23636785)

Slashvertisements!

Call me redundant (-1, Redundant)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23636851)

But they are very nice computers indeed. I want one!

Re:Call me redundant (0, Redundant)

Jimbob The Mighty (1282418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637119)

Ok. You're redundant.

Me too! (2, Interesting)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637139)

I've been in the market for one of these minilaptops (ultraportable, sub-notebook etc.) for a while, and it seems the market is evolving very quickly, so I should wait a few months and see what happens.

From what I understand, the Atom is designed for about 2W of power usage (under load?). This should make these computers have batteries that last forever, which will be really nice.

I like the idea of a solid state drive in laptops (resistant to drops, low power consumption, etc), but I haven't found a minilaptop that meets my needs:

1. ultra low power for a 4-6 hour battery life.
2. solid state drive (I could do this after market, if the thing meets all of my other needs)
3. 3G modem that's not a PCMCIA card (or whatever the equivalent addon bus is now)
4. preferably larger than 8", as I'm a large person myself.
5. linux compatible hardware (wireless card, mostly). I'm totally comfortable installing it myself, though.

Does anyone know of anything like this? I realize the EEE has everything but the 3G modem, and it's at the top of my list of picks right now. I'll probably wait for the Atom model and see how the battery life is with that one. However, I figure someone here knows about something that I've missed.

Re:Me too! (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637311)

You could always wait or something based on Nvidia Tegra....

Though that might need to wait a while and isn't x86 friendly. Not that that matters. Debian on ARM is great.

Re:Me too! (2, Interesting)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637313)

Are Intel ever going to do anything interesting with processor architecture that actually works better?

I mean, they came out with the P3, then they created the abortion that is the P4 architecture and managed to get it a little faster than the P3 through shrinking process, until finally, they switched back to the superior P3 architecture with a modern fab process and labelled it the Pentium M, then they glued them together in groups of two and four and called it the Pentium Core Whatever, and now they're re-using the same architecture yet again with a smaller fab process and calling it Atom.

So they've been selling us the same architecture for how many years now? Am I the only one who looks at this and thinks this looks like a plan to keep things from progressing any faster than Moores law allows so they can suck another decade or two of money out of the same old shit, because they really don't have any good ideas and haven't in a long time?

Maybe I'm just a cynic...

Re:Me too! (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637433)

The Pentium M isn't exactly the P3 architecture. It incorporates the branch predictor from the P4 (much improved over the P3, since the long pipeline in the P4 made branch miss-predictions incredibly expensive) and a few other things. The Core 1 was a modified Pentium M, and the Core 2 is a completely new microarchitecture, incorporating a lot of things not in the Pentium M (64-bit mode, SSE4, micro-op fusion, and so on).

The Atom is closest to the Pentium MMX than any other Intel CPU. It is in-order, for one thing, while every other Intel chip since the Pentium Pro has been out-of-order. It supports SMT, making it fairly unique among Intel chips (only the P4 did this before, and it has almost nothing else in common with the Atom), which helps avoid pipeline stalls caused by the lack of instruction re-ordering.

Re:Me too! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637929)

Perhaps you are just uninformed and not cynical.

Re:Me too! (3, Informative)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638999)

I'd like to note that aside from the Core series of chips actually developing in terms of the microarchitecture, rather than just process shrinking an old design, the Atom is an all-new core from the ground up. It's a very different microarchitecture from the Core 2.

Re:Me too! (1)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23640181)

Are Intel ever going to do anything interesting with processor architecture that actually works better?

You mean an interesting new architecture like Itanium? Yeah, that was a great success!

Intel and every company that targets Intel platforms have lots and lots of time, money, resources, and knowledge invested in their current architecture. Sure, there's lots of historical baggage and inefficiencies it also brings along, but if you're hoping for something new just for the sake of "interesting", you probably shouldn't hold your breath. Like it or not, we're stuck with it for a very long time.

Re:Me too! (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637363)

This should make these computers have batteries that last forever
For certain subsets of forever, that is indeed true!

Re:Me too! (3, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637465)

I believe the MSI Wind will eventually roll-out with some 3G card. There was a prototype earlier. Not sure which/when. Just keep a look out at gadget sites.

AMD competition (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23636869)

I think AMD's competitive processor should be called the 'Eve'.

That is all.

Re:AMD competition (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23636911)

And Intel's ad campaign should have Radiation Man saying, "Up and Atom!"

Fallout Boy could sing the ad jingle.

Re:AMD competition (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23636995)

"Up and at them!"

Re:AMD competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637201)

"the goggles, they do nothing!"

Re:AMD competition (0, Redundant)

MrMacman2u (831102) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637637)

"The Google! It knows everything!

Re:AMD competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23638839)

"Up and Atom!"

Re:AMD competition (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637709)

I would patent that idea before Intel gets to it.

Re:AMD competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637975)

Nelson: "Thats Radioactive Man stupid!!!"

Skinner: "Thats funny, i shouldnt have been able to hear that!"

Re:AMD competition (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639127)

Or for those of us a bit older, "Up and at 'em, Atom Ant!"

Re:AMD competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23636913)

Rather Ion or Neutron as they are even smaller than an atom :p

Re:AMD competition (4, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637153)

Steve would be better ;)

Intel's Atom is copying AMD's Geode (2, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639953)

Atom is only here because of AMD's Geode, so Intel should be playing the copycat game.

tubby clients (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23636879)

Now if HP will get these into a thin client with an air cooled nvidia I'll be a happy person with 'tubby clients' (network booting fanless with local X session and applications)

Small Server (1, Insightful)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23636969)

Someone wake me up when theyâ(TM)re selling a board which has a few GigE network ports (and can really saturate them), at least 4 SATA II ports, and one PCIe Slot. I don't really want some old inefficient 3D video accelerator either.

Re:Small Server (1, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637097)

How does a 5-digit /. user ID talking about desired computer specs qualify as troll? What the hell is going on around here lately?

Re:Small Server (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637171)

Seniority actually matters around here?

+1, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637797)

Sorry, I mis-modded your post Redundant when I meant to hit Interesting.

I owe you a (free as in) beer.

Re:Small Server (4, Insightful)

thanatos_x (1086171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637631)

Probably because...

1. There is a correlation between seniority and intelligence/common sense in many things. There may and can be outliers. Out of 99,999 users, you'd be bound to find a few trolls.
2. More likely it's because the poster seems to not care at all about a tiny 2W processor with reasonable performance. It's a fairly big step, but his choice of wording suggests he's completely... indignant.

"Car manufacturer comes out with car that gets 230 mpg"

Pfft. I'll care when they do that and give me a nice 0-60 time and 120 top speed. Oh, and when they seat 4 people.
OR
That's impressive, but the real test will be to see if they can make the vehicle usable, maintaining enough appeal to overcome American bias to large, powerful cars.

They say the same things, but there's a world of difference between how they come off.

Re:Small Server (2, Interesting)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638681)

No... I don't really get mating a 2 watt processor (which I want) with a inefficient 3D video chip (which I do not want). I do recognize that what I want network & storage wise is probably a tiny fraction of the atom market but I still hold out hope that some more enthusiastic slashdot reader will jump in and link to the board I want buy. It certainly has happened before... more than once.

BTW: VW is claiming they will be making their "1 Liter Car" in 2010... 1 liter per 100km is just over 235 MPG. I plan to buy one. I think they're very cool and if you haven't seen it you should check it out

Re:Small Server (2, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639345)

The pictured unit from TFA looks to be just small enough to fit in the trunk of that "1 liter car"(which btw, does look good. I want one.)

Re:Small Server (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639399)

BTW: VW is claiming they will be making their "1 Liter Car" in 2010... 1 liter per 100km is just over 235 MPG. I plan to buy one. I think they're very cool and if you haven't seen it you should check it out


Okay ... I'll admit, I don't work with metric units regularly, so I was curious.

100 KM = ~62.1371192237 Miles.
1 Liter = ~0.219969248299 Gallons.

So, a full gallon should go ~4.54609 times the distance or ~282.48093633 Miles.

Thats almost 50 Miles "Just over 235 MPG"!

Yes, I know there are probably other factors that affect this, but its still pretty amazing!

There was also a small segment in the morning news in my area (NYC) that Car dealers are facing an increased demand for small cars over SUVs, due to gas costs and increased ease of parking. :)

Re:Small Server (5, Funny)

lysdexia (897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637921)

That's the problem with young geeks these days. No respect for their elders. What with their "pwned" and their "kthxbye" and their fancy-dan slidey-outie phones, why some of them barely have guts! And their beards! Little whispy things ... Makes me want to bust the keyboard off my Kaypro and come out swingin'! Just be glad papaw had his adderall this morning.

Re:Small Server (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23638081)

Wow, I didn't know there were any 3-digiters left alive. Since there's only a few WWI vets left, I figured you were all long since dead.

Re:Small Server (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639689)

That dude posted from "the other side". Which one? Hint: his ISP is Comcast.

Re:Small Server (2, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639313)

That's the problem with young geeks these days. No respect for their elders. What with their "pwned" and their "kthxbye" and their fancy-dan slidey-outie phones, why some of them barely have guts! And their beards! Little whispy things ... Makes me want to bust the keyboard off my Kaypro and come out swingin'! Just be glad papaw had his adderall this morning

Ooooh, tell us another story, Grandpa! Maybe about walking to school or making electricity from lemons, then making lemonade cause wasting is a sin.

Re:Small Server (1)

Shelled (81123) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638667)

Lately?

Re:Small Server (1)

Tomba (176108) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637329)

Have you checked VIA's Epia SN? Don't know about the saturate part though =).

Re:Small Server (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638407)

As I understand things currently VIA doesn't have something that has a few GigE ports and will honestly saturate them.

Maybe someone will prove me wrong!?

Wake me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637591)

When someone cares about what you want.

Re:Small Server (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637639)

In the subject you say "Small Server" and further you say you want efficient 3D video acceleration. I don't get that. Why does a server need 3D video acceleration? Isn't a serial console enough for you?

Re:Small Server (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638167)

I *don't* want some old inefficient 3D video accelerator! A console is all I need!

Re:Small Server (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638451)

I thought you implied, by saying that you *didn't* want an "old inefficient 3D video accelerator", that you wanted a "modern efficient 3D accelerator". Especially, because you specified it, and they said you needed PCIe. What's the PCIe going to be for?

I understand the need for a low-power, multi-GigE-NIC, multi-SATA server... However, I was a bit mystified that you needed an extra PCIe. Oh, a few USB would be nice to use USB harddisks for backup or something....

So, contrary to what you might think, we're in agreement, I just didn't understand your comment. (In all honesty it was quite ambiguous)

Yes, give me an I/O optimized atom board ASAP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23638587)

Efficient graphics as in, don't add a useless chip that draws significantly more than the CPU on my server. I thought the original request was quite clear, and echoes my own sentiment.

Also, PCIe is useful for adding more NICs and I/O controllers. It isn't just for graphics cards.

Re:Yes, give me an I/O optimized atom board ASAP! (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638739)

Efficient graphics as in, don't add a useless chip that draws significantly more than the CPU on my server.

On a server, you do not need a graphics chip at all. Serial console [wikipedia.org] is your answer. That pretty much uses up no power at all.

PCIe is useful indeed for adding NICs and other I/O. If the hypothetical board already has a few NICs, adding a few more is probably overkill. Other IO? Don't need PCIe for that, regular PCI provides enough bandwidth *except* for Gigabit NICs and graphics cards.

other I/O could be a disk controller (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23638807)

If he wants to do NAS, he may want more disk channels to saturate his multiple gigabit ethernet links... even a single SATA II 300 MB/s link requires a x2 PCIe link, or a new PCIe 2.0 speed x1 link, for example if it has a port-multiplier hanging off it with enough disks.

Re:other I/O could be a disk controller (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638871)

Point taken... I hereby withdraw my question as for why one could need another PCIe.

Re:Small Server (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638953)

This is what happens when I post in meetings. Now to clarify:

These boards described have the intel GMA950 (which as far as I know isn't meant to be a low power device). I don't really get that... some super efficient low power chip, with a desktop chipset. I would have expected them to use some laptop or MID chipset, however owing to the multitude of Intel chipsets I don't really know which one that would be.

Personally I would be happiest with a micro watt 2D VGA sort of device.

Now as far as PCIe goes... I don't have a specific need already but all the chipsets have it and the PCIe (8x) can be used for things that USB can't.

And I had assumed USB as every device seems to come with oodles of them now days anyway.

Re:Small Server (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639051)

It all makes sense now, thanks for clarifying. Oh, and at the risk of sounding AOLish: Me Too!!! (As in: "I want such a board!")

Re:Small Server (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#23640089)

Someone wake me up when theyÃ(TM)re selling a board which has a few GigE network ports (and can really saturate them), at least 4 SATA II ports, and one PCIe Slot. I don't really want some old inefficient 3D video accelerator either.

Here. [justfuckinggoogleit.com] Get yourself a Core2 capable Mini-ITX motherboard with two gigE ports, 6 SATA ports (port-multiplier capable as well) and a PCIe x16 slot.

If you need more, you're well beyond "small server". Heck, that's more than enough grunt for the average office fileserver.

Considering mATX or regular ATX motherboards as well (what 4-drive case are you considering that can't fit a mATX or ATX board ?) and you've got dozens, if not hundreds, of choices.

Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (4, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637023)

Ok, I don't remember for sure if I have the name right, but I remember, back about 1998 or 2000, there was a company showcasing these tiny, power efficient PC's which had a form-factor somewhat similar to that Eee mini-PC in the linked image from the article. I think they used an ARM, or maybe it was Alpha, RISC processor, and came with some Linux distro.

I think the main downfall of that endeavor was that 1) the computers weren't Intel compatible, or Mac compatible, so you had to use Linux or BSD on them (and would have needed an Intel emulator on top of that to run any binaries compiled for Intel), I think, in order to keep them small and relatively cheap (they were still, I think, like 600 bucks, so kind of expensive, considering you could get generic PC's for about 400) and 3) the company that produced them was too small and simply lacked the funding necessary to survive in any case.

Still, I've always thought tiny-form factor PCs were nifty. If you could get one that was powerful enough, with decent enough video, you could use them as the basis for your own set-top boxes, routers, and things like that, or even just a small, low-power, inconspicuous server.

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637073)

Generic PCs were not $400 in 1998. A piece of average cost upwards of $1,000, something decent quite a lot more. Maybe $800 in 2000.

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638711)

I distinctly recall my parents getting a Cyrix MediaGX-based system from Micro Center for $499 in November of 1997. ;)

And that was the regular price.

Not saying that it was any good, mind you, but it was $499. And I think the lowest-end model was $399.

(166MHz CPU that's slower than a 60MHz Pentium? Check. 16 MB RAM... but 2 MB was stolen by the integrated graphics? Check. Proprietary 3" Western Digital hard drive (not 3.5", not 2.5"?) Check.)

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639273)

I refuse to acknowledge that as a personal computer. That way, I'm less wrong.

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (3, Funny)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637075)

It was pegasus

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23638467)

Mod parent funny (ready this comment for explanation).

Pegasus [wikipedia.org] was in no way small, it would've filled a medium sized room and it was from the 50s.

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (2, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637093)

you could use them as the basis for your own set-top boxes, routers, and things like that, or even just a small, low-power, inconspicuous server.

Ever heard of Soekris [soekris.com] ? That's what you are asking for....

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (3, Informative)

isfry (101853) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637127)

those were the DEC boxes I think they were 166 Mhz Alpha's and they shipped with NT Alpha which was pretty much worthless unless you really liked to re-compile all programs. and didn't need support past SP4. so most boxes ended up with Linux pretty soon. Didn't Slashdot run on one in the early years?

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (3, Informative)

johnw (3725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637427)

I think you're thinking of the NetWinder. They were ARM based. I have a couple in my store.

That's it! (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637699)

They were cool looking little boxes. I might have to buy me one someday soon (before you can't find em anymore). I think I remember they were bought up by Corel at some point? Did Corel do anything with the Netwinder? As far as I can tell, Corel is one of those companies where good products go to die.

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (5, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637769)

You're mixing up two similar (in form factor) machines, that were otherwise quite different in architecture and time of availability.

One is the Alpha-based DEC Multia/UDB [obsolyte.com] , from way back in the mid '90s. LITTLE-KNOWN FACT: Slashdot was originally run on one of these.

The other is the StrongARM-based Netwinder [linuxjournal.com] , which appeared around the year 2000.

They did have one thing in common other than their size - they both tended to overheat if they weren't stood up vertically.

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637839)

Am I the only one who is reminded of the phrase : "In the year twooooooo thouuuuuuuusand!" ?

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637919)

Actually, digging around a bit, it appears I misremembered - they were actually around from late 1998-early 1999 :(

Re:Echoes of the "Sidewinder" (1)

bmidgley (148669) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639579)

interesting that you lump these two together... they're polar opposites in the FPU capabilities. alpha had a really good FPU and strongarm had none at all.

Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (4, Interesting)

BACPro (206388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637095)

From TFA

Microsoft won't allow PCs to be sold with > 80GB HDDs preloaded with Windows XP and thus the top end configuration is only available with Linux.


Anybody have any idea why Microsoft would want to limit the amount of HDD space on a machine?

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (1)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637141)

Anybody have any idea why Microsoft would want to limit the amount of HDD space on a machine?

They probably assume people will go for the most hard-drive space when they purchase their computer. So it is probably a ploy to get these people to buy a copy of XP separately and raise sales.

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (5, Interesting)

RManning (544016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637367)

Anybody have any idea why Microsoft would want to limit the amount of HDD space on a machine?

I have no URL to back this up, but I know M$ only allows XP to be preloaded on low-end PCs. This is to keep the Vista numbers up. Maybe that's why?

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (4, Funny)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637389)

> Anybody have any idea why Microsoft would want
> to limit the amount of HDD space on a machine?

Don't you know? MS would like to encourage users to switch to alternative operating systems. Bill Gates himself said:

> "Guys like us avoid monopolies. We like to compete."

They're crafting a challenge for themselves (:

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (5, Insightful)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637407)

A crude way to force more powerful machines to use Vista. They can't use Vista levels of bloat in the emerging niche of MIDs ( or whatever they're called this week) but they still want to force everyone else to buy Vista. A big part of the Vista bloat and driver problems is Microsofts dream of DRM controlling our computers so they can make deals with content owners. Thus Microsoft needs to limit user choice as much as they can because XP may be good enough for your needs but its DRM isn't good enough for Microsoft needs.

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (1, Redundant)

DavidJSimpson (899508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637415)

According to Microsoft spokesman Bill Gates, "80GB should be enough for anyone."

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637537)

Differentiation. They are not limiting the size of the hard drive, they are limiting the size of the hard drive you are allowed to ship to qualify for very steep OEM discounts. They are attempting to sell the idea of 'XP on small/cheap machines, Vista on big/expensive machines' to avoid the market deciding that what it really wants is Linux on small/cheap machines. They can't compete directly with Linux on price (unless they pay people to ship Windows, which would only work if they then sold these customers Office or something), but they can compete on legacy compatibility. People aren't willing to pay 50% more for a laptop to run their legacy software, but the might be willing to pay 10-20% more, and so they offer a cheap version of Windows for cheap computers in the hope that people will say 'it's $20 more, but that's probably worth it to be able to run my old programs'. Whether or not this will work remains to be seen.

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (4, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637609)

Snarky answers aside, MS is selling XP for miniature devices at a very, very low price, far lower than XP normally goes for. This allows OEMs to hit the low prices they want, as otherwise Windows would be a very big piece of the price. But Microsoft also had to keep the OEMs from installing this version of XP in place of a full version, so they set up fairly arbitrary limitations that ensure that it's only installed in such miniature (read: underpowered) devices. It's basically the same chain of logic as to why XP/Vista Starter Editions are so cheap; cheap Windows is for cheap devices, and hardware restrictions are a way to enforce that.

Also keep in mind that normal XP is also being retired (sales are ending) at the end of this month, MS doesn't want XP selling for so long that it's still in use in 2014 when long-term support ends, which might happen if it could be slapped on new high-powered computers after their cut-off date. This also spirals off in to the point that MS wants to retire XP sooner than later for API and security reasons.

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (3, Interesting)

zoward (188110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637711)

Anybody have any idea why Microsoft would want to limit the amount of HDD space on a machine?
They want Vista on all larger machines. The only reason they (reluctantly) extended the life of XP was to have something to put on a UMPC-class machine to prevent Linux from becoming the de facto standard OS for that entire class of PC's. To prevent PC builders from using this as a loophole to keep pre-installing XP on full-blown PC's, they're limiting the HD size on which it can be installed. I expect this to change once UMPC's start shipping with >80GB HDD's though.

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (3, Interesting)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637731)

Windows XP is now only available for UMPCs, and other low-spec machines that can't run Vista.

Presumably Microsoft's idea of a low-spec machine is something with 80GB of hard disk space, which is why they won't sell it to go on machines with more.

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (1)

Timo_UK (762705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637993)

80G ought to be enough for anybody

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (0, Redundant)

hulye (1220142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638045)

Because 80GB should be enough for anyone...

Re:Microsoft as Hardware Cop? (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638537)

Because this is a special, cheaper version of XP. If it were allowed on decent hardware it would eat badly into their sales of Vista.

Doh, I just order the EEE PC 20g last night. (3, Funny)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637129)

Looks like I paid top dollar for old tech.

All well, it still looks cool.

Re:Doh, I just order the EEE PC 20g last night. (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637725)

You're complaining? I didn't even find a EEE PC 20g... I ordered a 701 4G and it arrived today (or better said, my dad just emailed me that it arrived. I let my stuff deliver there because he's retired and as such at home)

mod 04 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637337)

Vary for diff3rent

Some thoughts about the article (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637377)

Now this looks really exciting.

First, as we all know, power consumption is becoming more and more relevant. A quick google search a low-power server (meant for 24x7) draws 50 Watts, comparable to a light bulb. If we can get decent performance topping at 5 watts (leaving some margins for intel), you can save 90% of a big part of your power bill straight away. That alone predicts success for Intel, at least in the long term if we wait for the next hardware replacement cycle at the big companies.

Also, looking at the prices, you get 1.6 GHz at $95. A quick google says you can get an Intel Pentium E2200 2.2GHz LGA 775 65W Processor for $80 at NewEgg. Doing some math, you can buy 17.6 GHz for $640 (8 timse 65W) or for $1045 (11 times 5W, above figure). That's a $405 difference, and a 465 Watt saving. If you can get 9 kWh per dollar, you've earned back the $405 if you use the processors for a year (24x7).

That's what I call a business case for buying intel. Of course the case gets even better if intel hits 2.5 Watts or power is more expensive at the prospective customer's data center.

However, it seems to be aimed more at mobile use that datacenter use, so let's look at that.

This groundbreaking marriage of performance and efficiency means that Atom-powered phones and PDAs could run the same applications as desktop machines, while maintaining the battery life consumers demand.
Eh, well. You'd run into user interaction issues. The I/O devices on mobile platforms are not suited for desktop applications: you don't have much of a keyboard (at least not one that's comfortable to type on) and not much of a mouse. Also, with limited screen real estate, you'll run into problems like being able to fit the toolbar but not the textarea of kate onto the screen.

But the promise is not UI, the promise is horsepower. And that's something to be excited about. The first thing that springs to my mind is encrypting phone calls in real time in software without immediately draining the battery. I'm not much of a radio guy, but if Intel could up the speed over the next few years, we could potentially have software radio on our cell phones. That frigging excites me (and potentially scares the living daylight out of the FCC).

So, if I read that right (2, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637431)

Their benchmarks (for which there were no details) showed Atom was ~10% slower than a Via C7 ???

Re:So, if I read that right (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637841)

That's what I read to -- at 50% more power usage too.

Re:So, if I read that right (2, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638453)

at 50% more power usage too.

Well, the Atom is 4W TPD while the C7 is 20W. Given that the Atom is a later generation process (45nm vs 65nm), this makes sense. I'd expect Isaiah aka Via Nano is going to do better (although not quite as good as Atom) once they get it into 45nm.

For a desktop machine, that's not as big a deal as it sounds though, because the matching "low power" northbridge and graphics tend to be a TDP of 5-20W by themselves. They mention in the article that 70% of the heat in the test system is generated by the 945G northbridge.

Re:So, if I read that right (4, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638543)

OK, So I checked and to get a closer comparison of two new chips (the C7 is several years old now), Intel Atom (45nm) vs Via Nano (65nm).

Atom = 4 W.

Nano = 17W.

Keep in mind that the C7 has been shown to be faster than the Atom, and the Nano is twice as fast as the C7. On a performance/watt basis that puts Nano much closer to the Atom than even I thought.

Acer announces £199 ($400) laptop base (1)

samael (12612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637453)

Re:Acer announces £199 ($400) laptop b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637611)

Yep, this looks pretty good for £199, though the spec is some ways behind the MSI Wind - and there's no Bluetooth...

There are some video clips that show the Aspire One being handled and the OS in action over at Mobile Computer [mobilecomputermag.co.uk] .

Will someone please think of the thinkpads!? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23637489)

So how long until these are in Lenovo's notebooks? Originally I heard these would be out in the begining of June, but I haven't heard boo.

Anyone? Bueller?

Long live battery life (5, Informative)

Lupu (815408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23637555)

While the Atom certainly delivers impressive power statistics compared to our typical laptop processors, they are still far from the level of the ARM family. A recent article on Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] will explain why. ARM processors are by far the most common processor on the low power frontier and the reason seems apparent; even at 1GHz they claim to reach operational power consumption around 300mW [arm.com] . Now, granted, it is on a RISC instruction set, but their upcoming Cortex-A9 [arm.com] will support multicore and starts to sound like a very interesting alternative for a notebook processor.

Could someone drop me a message as soon as those things start entering the market?

Re:Long live battery life (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638213)

Nokia already sells something akin to an Arm based computer and it'll probably use the A9 whenever it comes.

Re:Long live battery life (1)

amolapacificapaloma (1000830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639249)

You mean the Nokia N810 [wikipedia.org] ? Sweet device, it can run Debian too :D I have one and it is impressive.

Ummmm (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23639131)

How is this informative? Ok, yes, it is higher power than an ARM. However it also is more powerful (as in what it can do). You ever stop to think that maybe there is a a market for more than one kind of processor? It doesn't seem like this is aimed at the Arm market. Seems like this is aimed at a market that isn't well populated with chips. You need something that's less powerful than a normal laptop processor, but more powerful than an embedded processor. Well, here you go. This would be ideal for things like, say, a m0n0wall (which uses 486 class embedded chips right now) or a little media box.

There is a market for a whole range of power of chips. ARMs are great for ultra low power. In fact Intel had an ARM line, the Xscale (based on ARM 5 with no FP), which are extremely popular in smartphones. They still make them, for that matter, they just sold the line to Marvell recently. However I certainly wouldn't want on in my desktop.

The Atom seems to be targeted at devices that need more power than an Xscale can provide, but need power consumption less than what a Core 2 can offer.

Not to mention the big daddies per chip... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23638349)

For every machine built Intel will have to kill a little girl to pull the slug out.

What's the blursted wattage?? (2, Insightful)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638627)

[rant] Why on Earth don't they publicize watt consumption of the new system? It should be required. I realize different configs and usage patterns will result in different power consumption but there's no good reason not to provide a stat that says "with config X the system consumed __ watts at idle and ___ watts at full load."
Seriously, if everyone is going green you'd think they would want to advertise that their little box is energy efficient.
[\rant]

Re:What's the blursted wattage?? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23639253)

If you read it it says 30W idle, 36W full load with those specs.

Transmeta - Crusoe (4, Interesting)

kcdoodle (754976) | more than 6 years ago | (#23638943)

Hey, Intel is beating Transmeta at their own game.

You remember Transmeta. Linus worked there. Stock started out around $20/share. I bought $4000 worth. The darn thing tanked, reverse split, and tanked some more. I have about $35 worth of this company now. Yep, rode it all the way down.

But now that Intel is making a realllllly low power processor, it is big news. I hope Transmeta gets some new orders because of this.

Oh yeah, Transmeta claims about a dozen or patents have been infringed upon by Intel in the production of this chip. So we just might have a new SCO. (At least I never bought any SCO stock.)

personal server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23639337)

I'm hoping that atom might be a good low power, low cost solution for a lightweight server. I hate leaving my dell on 24/7 as it's a power hog.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?