Many folks have been anxious to see devices start appearing that incorporate the latest Intel mobile processor, the Atom, to provide better battery life and decent performance. I have expressed my doubts about the performance side of the Atom based on early benchmarks that others have published but as I’ve said before benchmarks don’t tell enough of the story. What matters to me is how a given device and processor performs in the real world, doing the tasks I do every day. How a device "feels" performance-wise is very important over the long term as that is what creates the "love/ hate" relationship with a device. So now that various mini-notebooks are appearing with the Intel Atom I am curious how it is performing in the real world?
I do not have my hands on one of the new Atom-equipped gadgets so I’m in the dark on this issue. If anyone has first-hand experience with one please chime in here and let us all know how the Atom is working on a day-to-day basis. I know that the processor can make a big difference in how well a device works as I always have multiple mobile PCs at my disposal and I get to switch among them whenever I want. While I don’t have an Atom-equipped gadget here I do have some with the Via C7, Intel Ultra-low Voltage (ULV) and the Intel Low Voltage (LV) processors and I can attest to how big a difference the processor makes in producing the daily user experience impression.
The Via C7 processor is certainly fast enough for most things but when I compare it to something running the Intel ULV the difference is night and day. I have several notebooks running a 1.2 GHz ULV processor and they all get good battery life and have very good performance doing daily tasks and I have no complaints. Of course, when I pick up a notebook running the 1.6 GHz LV Intel processor (all of the ULV and LV are Core 2 Duos) I am immediately blown away with how fast things happen. None of this is surprising but I just wanted to point out how big a difference having a good performing CPU can make to the user experience. This is where I am the most curious about the Intel Atom so pipe up if you have one and can fill us in.