Review Index:

Intel Atom 330 Dual-core Processor Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Testing Configuration and SiSoft Sandra Results

Testing with the Intel Atom 330 processor turned out to be a pretty simple task.  I had already run a host of benchmarks with the Intel Atom 330 in single-core mode: one of the CPU cores was disabled during the evaluation of the ION reference platform.  That meant I simply need to enable that second core, run some more tests and then compare those results to our VIA Nano processor system.

  • VIA Nano L2100 CPU @ 1.8 GHz
  • VIA CN896 chipset with Chrome9 IGP
  • Raptor X 150GB hard drive
  • 2 x 1GB Corsair DDR2-667 Memory 
  • Silverstone 750w PSU 
  • Windows Vista Premium x32

  • Intel Atom 330 CPU @ 1.60 GHz 
  • GeForce 9400M chipset and GPU (256MB shared frame buffer)

  • 2GB DDR3-1066 memory

  • 200GB 5400 RPM SATA HDD
  • Windows Vista Premium x32

There a couple of slight differences in configuration but the two platforms are close enough to get some general ideas of CPU performance. 

CPU-Z Information

How does CPU-Z compare these two parts?  Let's see side by side...


VIA Nano



Intel Atom 330

(in single core mode)

initial CPU-Z images give us a lot of valuable information about the
two processors that we have already discussed separately but that is
good to see side by side.  While the Nano is built on a 65nm process
the Atom is designed around Intel's own 45nm technologies - part of the
reason behind the dramatic size advantage Intel's Atom has.  Both claim
to be running at similar voltages though the Nano has a faster overall
bus speed. 

Atom 330 dual-core HyperThreaded

The important difference is that the Atom CPU is HyperThreaded enabled - even in testing with just a single core the CPU can handle two threads.  When we show performance results from the dual-core configured machine, the Atom 330 is able to handle four total threads.  

VIA Nano L2100


Intel Atom 330

(in single core mode)

terms of cache sizes the Nano processor again wins out with larger L1
caches and a full 1MB of L2 cache compared to Intel 512KB of L2 cache when we look at individual cores.

For our benchmarks we will be comparing the single-core, single threaded VIA Nano L2100 processor to the Atom 330 in both single-core and dual-core modes.  Both Atom 330 configurations will have HyperThreading enabled simply because the BIOS would NOT allow us to disable HyperThreading; only core count.  While it would have been very interesting to compare dual-core, dual-threaded performance to single-core, dual-threaded performance that isn't an option on this platform.

Okay, let's get the numbers finally!

SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP1

latest version of SiSoft Sandra offers up a lot of new features
including GPU performance testing and Nehalem processor support. 

Here is what is important from these first couple of graphs: where as
the single core Intel Atom 230 processor was slower than VIA's Nano,
the dual-core version mops the floor with it.  If you go back and look
through our Core i7 review, you'll no doubt see the scores are all low
comparatively (the Core i7-965 scores 81.09 on the Dhrystone test) but
keep in mind this is for a CPU with thermal dissipations of < 10

Memory scores are not improved as much as the raw CPU scores since the memory controller on the Intel 945 chipset is still in control of the majority of that work.

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