Atom to stay in-oder or go OoO?

By: AM (myname4rwt.delete@this.jee.male), September 30, 2009 2:32 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Ungo (a@b.c.d.e) on 9/28/09 wrote:
---------------------------
>AM (myname4rwt@jee.male) on 9/28/09 wrote:
>---------------------------
>>.. is something I've been wondering about. I mean, face it: to say that power efficiency
>>of available Atoms compared to available ULV Core2s is unimpressive is an undeserved compliment.
>>
>>Power efficiency of Atom's main bins (4W/core, 1.6 GHz, 512k/core)
>
>http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyID=29035
>
>Atom 230 isn't a 'main bin'. It's the bin for leaky parts which Intel salvages
>by selling them for use in desktops rather than the main volume driver for Atom (netbooks).
>
>The Z series Atoms are relatively recent developments, and are now likely the most
>representative.

The "representative" Z series Atoms are not available from Intel. Period.

But if you're looking for the most common Atom bin by number of
>chips shipped to date, that would be the N270 (2.5W @ 1.60GHz), the backbone of the netbook revolution.

Source?

>>is clearly worse if you consider there have been 10W DC 1.6 GHz 3M Core2s (SU9600) for some time. And quickly checking for benchmarks vs Core2, e.g. I used this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-atom-efficiency,2069-8.html
>>it appears low-power 2.5W bin hardly makes it a winner on the metric it was allegedly
>>optimized for. And power-efficiency at platform level -- just forget it.
>
>The THG article you linked to compares the performance of a 65W TDP 2.53GHz C2D
>to a 4W 1.6GHz Atom 230, not a 10W 1.6GHz SU9600 to a 2.5W 1.6GHz N270 as you imply.

Oh, and what would be the performance of the 10W part? :)

>And if you think the power figures measured by THG are meaningful, all they really
>prove is that chipsets matter.

You're reading me wrong. The THG figures I used to look at performance.

A lot. Atom 230 is normally paired with the 945GC
>GMCH (22.2W) and the ICH7 I/O hub (3.3W), for a total TDP of 29.5W. By "normally
>paired", I mean that this is the only Intel-approved chipset for Atom 230 (chipset
>pairings are shown for most processors at ark.intel.com). Intel puts (pricing?)
>pressure on Atom system designers to get them to use only these approved combos,
>and it seems to work because you almost never find anything else. The board reviewed by Tom's was not an exception.
>
>In other words, for reasons known only to Intel, Atom desktop systems are almost
>always crippled (from a power perspective) by a horribly old (130nm!) and power hungry desktop chipset.
>
>The chipset used in netbooks with the Atom N270 isn't much better: the 945GSE,
>a 6W TDP mobile version of 945GC. The I/O hub is still ICH7. The total TDP of
>this combo is 11.8W, much less than half the power of the desktop Atom configuration.
>
>But if you look at what is available for pairing with the more current Z series

Available?! I don't see Intel listing a single Z-series Atom as available.

>Atoms, Intel has finally come up with a decent chipset: the US15L, a 2.3W TDP single chip MCH+ICH.
>
>Now consider that the Atom and the US15L still have to communicate by pushing a
>huge number of FSB signals through pins and PCB traces. How much of the TDP on
>each side is FSB I/O power which will disappear when Atom SoCs arrive?
>
>If I have a point here, it is this: with a CPU whose TDP is as tiny as Atom's (even
>the leaky-bin Atom 230), these chipset details are hugely important to nail down.
>Especially if you're trying to talk sensibly about the power efficiency of the
>CPU core alone based on measurements of whole-system power. To date, the vast majority
>of Atoms have been sold paired with an *I/O hub* (the ICH7) which uses more power than the processor itself.
>
>Finally, I would note that there has been a rather large blind spot in much of
>this discussion: die size. The SU9600 has a die literally 4x bigger than Atom N270.
>(And 4x the TDP too.) Even after accounting for the fact that SU9600 has 2x as
>many processor cores, it's still not terribly surprising that 2x the die area and
>power budget results in a faster CPU core.

You must have gotten my point completely wrong. That Atom loses in performance in a big way is not surprizing; surprizing part has to do with it doesn't seem to win in power efficiency either vs Core2.

>The flip side: it's economical for Intel
>to sell the Atom at much, much lower prices.

:) Oh give me a break, Banias derivative moved to 45nm and targeted for power efficiency would have hardly had any problem fitting the space and 4W/core power envelope, and I'm convinced would have looked *much* better on power-efficiency front combined with obviously higher performance.
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