The Intel Atom N280 CPU is showing up in more and more netbooks. The Asus Eee PC 1000HE, Acer Aspire One D150, and upcoming MSI Wind U123 all use the latest generation version of the Intel Atom CPU. It’s a little bit faster than the N270 that has been on the market for about a year. The N280 runs at 1.66GHz while the N270 runs at 1.6GHz. And the newer chip has a front side bus speed of 667MHz compared with 533MHz on the older model. But what exactly does that mean?

I’ve already shown that you can easily overclock the Intel Atom N280 processor to run at 1.75GHz on Asus computers. If you use third party overclocking software you could probably go much further. But the folks at ComputerMonger decided to pit the Intel Atom N270 and N280 processors running at their stock speeds against one another. The results? Yeah, there’s not a huge difference between these chips. But there is a little difference.

To make as close to an oranges to oranges comparison as possible, ComputerMonger used an Acer aspire One D150 with an N280 CPU and Acer Aspire One A150 with an N270 chip. The D150 scored a few points higher in a series of benchmarks. But the differences were pretty slim. The long and short of it is that you shouldn’t expect miracles from the Intel Atom N280 processor, or even a noticeable performance boost over the Intel Atom N270. We’ll probably have to wait for next generation chips or the NVIDIA ION platform which bundles the Atom CPU with an NVIDIA GPU for that.

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11 replies on “Intel Atom N270, N280 chips compared, benchmarked”

  1. the N280 also has a lower CPU voltage, which perhaps could give you an extra 5 to 15 mins of battery life?
    Also there seems to be upto 10% performance gain, but most of that is below 4% gain.

  2. “The D159 scored a few points higher in a series of benchmarks.”

    should be

    “The D150 scored a few points higher in a series of benchmarks.”

  3. Well of course 60MHz core and a 134MHz FSB won’t do much, but the really exciting thing to come out of the N280 refresh is the new GN40 chipset. Apparently it can even decode high definition 720p video, but no one seems to have tried it out yet!

    1. Current Intel GMA chipset can also decode 720p HD content.
      Only not blueray disks. MPeg4 goes just fine.

  4. keys are: pricing, energy consumption, battery live, heating of the devices

  5. At a scale this small…without a major revision in the underlying technologies at play here, I don’t see anything from the same company making enough of a difference to matter beyond small differences here and there.

    The big thing that would change the situation is Via based stuff, and hopefully some kind of answer from AMD to the Atom situation(I know, wishful thinking, but a guy can dream, no?).

    Of course it’s going to get even stranger when the inevitable ARM books come out. How do we compare things performance-wise then? Do we even want to? I’d contend yes, because you can do much with windows that you can with linux these days. But at the same time I can see the counter arguments having to do with different price structures, and possibly use structures stemming from that.

    One of the most interesting things about this tiny revolution is the different questions we’re asking now…and even the different ways we’re asking them. There are absolutes, as ever…but this site and others like it are documents of a change in the game overall.

      1. OUCH! Sorry to read that, frankly. I’d thought that with its larger size and higer power usage, you’d get a fair amount more performance to boot. Maybe there’s just issues when you get this small. I’m hopeful for tech to improve as it always does, though.

        Thanks for the link, it’s surprising but important information.

  6. I thought the best thing about the N280 is the reduction in heat and not the performance gain.

    Any word on that?

    The N270 chips produce a fair amount of heat and draw slightly more power.

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