CPU shoot-out: Intel Atom D2700 vs. AMD E-450

Intel's new 32nm Cedar Trail Atom versus AMD’s E-series


Video compatibility

Our suspicions were confirmed by the benchmarks. Intel Atom processors and AMD E processors are simply too slow for most tasks performed by desktop PCs. They're fine for using the internet or word processing, but definitely not recommended for photo or video editing. Gaming is out of the question of course, but even for business use you need a faster processor to be productive.

That leaves two types of uses. In addition to simple browsing online, you can use these systems as energy efficient media players.

We have previously published articles on how you can transform a barebone PC based on the AMD E-350 to a Windows Media Center PC. You might get annoyed at the low CPU performance, but the AMD E-350 and of course the E-450 have no problems with playing 720p and 1080p HD video. The integrated GPU is not powerful enough for serious post-processing, so image enhancement or noise suppression won't be possible. Deinterlacing, important for watching TV episodes, is also less effective with AMD E processors than with serious GPUs.

Intel's previous generation Atom did not have any integrated video decoder at all, and was completely dependent upon the CPU for processing video. The result was that playback of SD video was fine (with less CPU-heavy codecs) but playing HD material was not possible. For a long time it was the argument from AMD for why consumers should choose an E-processor over an Atom: "Ours does play YouTube HD".

The new D2700 does have integrated HD video encoding and it works as promised for the most part. Both 720p and 1080p HD video can be played as long as its either MPEG2 or H.264, although 1080p can be a bit jerky at times. It's not a slideshow, but it's also not completely smooth. Especially when the bitrate is a bit higher, it starts to struggle. This likely has to do with Intel's GMA3600 video drivers that the manufacturer has been struggling with since launching the new Atom platform in late 2011.

YouTube 720p on an Atom D2700 plays just fine. 1080p remains jerky.

We wanted to portray the post-processing quality of the new Atom with the HD HQV video quality benchmark, and it's easy sum up that attempt. Intel performs no post-processing on HD material whatsoever.

So it's possible to use an AMD E-350/E450-based PC as media player, but you should seriously consider whether it's not worth it to invest in a faster AMD A4 instead. The new Intel Atom does not qualify for this.


two products discussed in this review

  Product Lowest price

AMD E-450

Socket FT1, 1.65 GHz, 2 cores, 18 W, 40 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews

Intel Atom D2700

2.13 GHz, 2 cores, 10 W, 32 nm, Integrated graphics

Specifications Test results Reviews

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