People have been loading OS X on netbooks without Apple’s consent for a while now, and it turns out the operating system runs surprisingly well on many Intel Atom-powered mini-laptops. Sure, an MSI Wind U100 isn’t going to be able to outperform a MacBook Pro with a dual core CPU, but it turns out the Intel Atom N270 handles most tasks about as well as the PowerPC G4 processor in a 4 year old iBook. Or at least, that’s what AppleDifferent decided after running a series of benchmarks.
Basically, the test involved pitting an iBook G4 and a MacBook Air against an Advent 4211, which is a rebranded MSi Wind U100. In several benchmarking tests, the Advent 4211 outperformed the iBook G4, although it didn’t come close to touching the MacBook Air. In real world tests, the results were more mixed. The netbook booted OS X more quickly than the iBook, and launched programs faster. But when it came to CPU intensive tasks like unzipping files or applying complex image filters in GIMP, the iBook took the lead.
So what have we learned today? The Intel Atom N270 chip may have only come out half a year ago, but it’s about as powerful as a 4 year old processor. Which is no surprise, since that’s pretty much what Intel was going for. That’s why the Intel Atom line of processors is a lot cheaper than a Core 2 Duo CPU or other modern high performance chips.