When Google's latest silver Chromebook, the XE303, cropped-up, powered by the industry's first ARM Cortex-A15 SoC, the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual, a small debate raged over the performance of ARM's latest offerings against Intel's low-power Atom alternatives, with the difference in architecture making theoretical comparison near impossible.
Wishing to settle matters, the good folks over at AnandTech benchmarked the new ARM-based SoC in Google's Chromebook against previous model, the Chromebook 500, powered by a Pineview Intel Atom N570, running the same, Chrome OS, which is perhaps about as close as we can expect to reach for a fair and direct comparison.
|SunSpider 0.9.1||BrowserMark||RIAbench Focus Tests||Kraken||IE10 Bubbles Test||IE10 Fishbowl||IE10 Maze Solver|
|Atom N570 1.66GHz||1034.3 ms||152780||1968 ms||14229.5 ms||11 fps||5 fps||45 s|
|Exynos 5 Dual 1.7GHz||690.5 ms||217031||1192 ms||9733.2 ms||17 fps||8 fps||17 s|
Both the Atom N570 and the Exynos 5 feature dual-core CPUs and are both clocked at similar speeds. The Exynos 5 is based on Samsung's 32nm HKMG technology, whilst the Atom on Intel's 45nm process.
Intel has since released its 32nm range of Cedarfield Atoms (and Clovertrail SoC variants), which offer slightly faster CPU performance in a similar power-profile and a beefier on-die GPU, though the general architecture remains similar. Likewise, though not on the market until early next year, Samsung is already believed to be in development of a 28nm HKMG Exynos 5 Quad, which should offer superior CPU and GPU performance in a similar power-profile.
The results above speak for themselves, showing the Exynos 5 out-pacing the Atom N570 by an average of 65 per cent on what are primarily CPU-bound tests, however, this is only the start of the story, next-up are performance comparisons performed in WebGL.
|WebGL Solar System||WebGL Cubes (500)||WebGL Aquarium (50)|
|Atom N570 1.66GHz||2 fps||10 fps||2 fps|
|Exynos 5 Dual 1.7GHz||22 fps||28 fps||38 fps|
For the most-part, the Atom N570's 3D prowess is non-existent and so, you can see how a beefing-up of clock rates in Cedarfield's GPU may have little affect on the firm's latest Atom processors. Meanwhile the Exynos 5 Dual demonstrates itself to be just about sufficient enough to take part in 3D web-based gaming, opening-up doors inaccessible to Intel's Atom.
Sadly, it's not currently possible to provide a direct comparison when it comes to power consumption. Chromebook hardware in-general is too different and a closer comparison with the Exynos 5 SoC would be best placed against Clovertrail, Intel's Atom-based SoC.
Even if we were to account for Intel's latest 32nm Atom variants, it's clear that Samsung's Exynos 5 Dual and, by extension, ARM's latest Cortex-A15 CPU designs offer superior performance, with an even greater gap in GPU numbers. Intel is at long-last expected to release a completely new Atom architecture next-year, which will be going-up against quad-core variants of ARM's Cortex-A15.
With ARM revealing that in 2014, a 64-bit architecture offering three-fold performance, scalable down to 14nm will be available, Intel is likely to run into some serious competition, which we suspect will see the two firms swapping performance crowns fairly often, though, there's still a chance for domination on either-side, we won't know until we see just how capable Intel's new architecture is, next year.