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The ARM Cortex-A9 Can Beat Out The Intel Atom

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  • The ARM Cortex-A9 Can Beat Out The Intel Atom

    Phoronix: The ARM Cortex-A9 Can Beat Out The Intel Atom

    Here's some interesting test results recently uploaded to OpenBenchmarking.org that compares the performance of ARM Cortex A8 and Cortex A9 cores running at 1.0GHz against an Intel Atom N450. All three systems running at 1.0GHz were also running Gentoo Linux. Clock-for-clock, can the latest-generation ARM Cortex-A9 take out the Intel Atom? For the most part, yes.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=17829

  • #2
    Great

    This ARM Cortex-A9 would be great for a nettop, netbook, and chromebook or chrometop.

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    • #3
      They are already used in nettops, netbooks and chromebooks :P

      Tegra 3 with its quad-core @ up to 1.7GHz should be a viable Atom replacement for sure.
      Give my Transformer Prime a decent Ubuntu distro and let's see what happens.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sacha View Post
        Tegra 3 with its quad-core @ up to 1.7GHz should be a viable Atom replacement for sure.
        The problem with Tegra is that it is Nvidia.
        So no open source device drivers.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by uid313 View Post
          The problem with Tegra is that it is Nvidia.
          So no open source device drivers.
          That applies to pretty much all ARM SoCs at the moment.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by uid313 View Post
            The problem with Tegra is that it is Nvidia.
            So no open source device drivers.
            I believe thats the problem with any arm soc vendor, contrary to, ironically, intel's next gen valleyview soc.

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            • #7
              This article is severely flawed...

              Running multi-threaded benchmarks on a top of the line dual-core ARM setup then declaring that it is amazingly superior to an UNDERCLOCKED SINGLE CORE ATOM FROM ALMOST 3 YEARS AGO is not exactly showing that Intel is about to go out of business.

              Larabel *repeatedly* misrepresents the N450 calling it a "dual core" processor. It is *not* dual core but is a single core + HT chip. He could have spent 5 seconds using this new thing called "Google" to go here: http://ark.intel.com/products/42503 and get a full product page describing the N450 that *clearly* shows it is a single core chip. I'd love to see the A9's "beating" the N450 with only one core....

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              • #8
                Clock speed is useless, too.
                Compare something relevant, like power consumption or price.

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                • #9
                  Well the benchmark is a bit useless because a atom n450 usually runs with 1.66 ghz. so the cortex cpu needs first a higher clockspeed to match the atom. btw. there are also quad core atoms out there.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pankkake View Post
                    Clock speed is useless, too.
                    Compare something relevant, like power consumption or price.
                    While I agree it would be helpful to see more info, clock speed is relevant when you consider that A9 is RISC, A9 systems tend to be cheaper than Atom systems, and from what I recall A9 is slightly more power efficient.

                    Clock speed by itself doesn't matter, as AMD has proven back in the Athlon 64 and P4 days. However, generally speaking, the higher the frequency, the more power consuming something is and the more heat it produces. Since ARM and Atom chips are designed to be low power and potentially fanless, being at the same frequency is a decent comparison, just to see which really is more efficient clock per clock.

                    @kano
                    Not true at all. Forcing something to go beyond its designated limit can't be compared to weakening something (or not pushing it to its limits). When you dumb down the Atom, that would actually give it the benefit, since it would be running cooler. That's like comparing a sedan to a F1 racer - its a lot easier to test road performance if the F1 slows down to the speeds of a sedan, since the sedan can't go as fast as the F1. If you want to make any semblance of a comparison, you have to compensate for the lowest denominator, not the highest.

                    Anyways back to the tests, anyone else find it weird that Atom under 64 bit overall did worse? Any particular reason for that?
                    Last edited by schmidtbag; 09-03-2012, 09:00 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by schmidtbag View Post
                      Anyways back to the tests, anyone else find it weird that Atom under 64 bit overall did worse? Any particular reason for that?
                      I could see issues with x86_64 dues to things like the pressure on the instruction cache and possibly the data cache if there are a lot of memory pointers. There are architectural advantages to x86_64 in higher-end Intel parts (think Sandy Bridge & Ivy Bridge) but in an Atom the simple in-order instructions and less sophisticated front-end may negate many of these advantages.

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                      • #12
                        One other reason that 64 bit is slower...

                        Just noticed that the Atom is being run with the new x32 mixed instruction set. This takes advantage of the 64 bit improvements in the architecture and enables 64 bit registers for doing math (faster in some cases) but limits the memory addressing to 32 bits (less cache pressure). Especially in a system like Atom I could see that giving a performance bump in many cases.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pankkake View Post
                          Clock speed is useless, too.
                          Compare something relevant, like power consumption or price.
                          I disagree. Comparing the ARM A8, A9 and Atom N450 all at 1Ghz is very relevant and gives us a very good idea of how well the architecture competes as well as what its IPC is. Many other hardware sites purposely under-clock newer processors to compare the latest generation architecture to the last generation.

                          Having said that, the Atom N450 really is not considered a dual-core processor. Rather it is Single Core + Hyper-threading (two-threads). Would be very interesting to see a newer dual-core (ie Atom N550 - 4 threads) at 1Ghz go up against a newer ARM A9 chip such as the Tegra 3 or even an A15 chip. I'll bet it would be a really close battle, with the power consumption win probably going to the ARM architecture.

                          The x32 results are very interesting, in that it scored a few wins against X86_64. Would be nice to see x86 results for comparison... =)

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                          • #14
                            Cortex-A15

                            Given Cortex-A9 is already old and SoCs based on the Cortex-A15 are starting to appear, I'm looking forward to seeing how those perform.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chuckula View Post
                              Running multi-threaded benchmarks on a top of the line dual-core ARM setup then declaring that it is amazingly superior to an UNDERCLOCKED SINGLE CORE ATOM FROM ALMOST 3 YEARS AGO is not exactly showing that Intel is about to go out of business.
                              I don't remember reading about Intel going out of business in the article; furthermore, the A9 architecture is also almost 3 years old too, so I don't see what your point is.


                              Larabel *repeatedly* misrepresents the N450 calling it a "dual core" processor. It is *not* dual core but is a single core + HT chip. He could have spent 5 seconds using this new thing called "Google" to go here: http://ark.intel.com/products/42503 and get a full product page describing the N450 that *clearly* shows it is a single core chip. I'd love to see the A9's "beating" the N450 with only one core....
                              Yes, technically not a dual-core. Its a single core + hyperthreading making it capable of scheduling and partially processing two simultaneous threads. Nonetheless, it is a very interesting comparison, and I hope Michael can get us some results for an A9 Quad Core (ie Tegra 3) vs. A15 vs. latest gen Atom dual core (ie N2800)... that would be a very interesting showdown, though it has been widely reports that the Cedarview ATOM's are no faster than their Pineview predecessors.
                              Last edited by gururise; 09-04-2012, 01:39 AM.

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