Planning to use Atom for a desktop computer? Get real.
HardOCP pitted new low-power chips from Intel and Via in battle, and the latter's Nano outperformed Atom by up to 28 percent under synthetic benchmarks, 37 percent on DivX encoding, 59 percent on MP3 encoding, and attained at least marginal superiority in every single benchmark run. Gamers, particularly, should note that it got almost double the frame rate in Quake 4, though neither impressed on the graphics front – at least using the integrated video included on each CPU's respective Mini-ITX motherboards. HotHardware got similar results.
While Atom was never intended for such heavy use, the amazing part is that Nano's gains are made on just 8 watts difference in power consumption under load, 53W to 45W. Furthermore, the Nano had lower consumption when idle. These figures apply only to desktop-style use (the Atom's forte will be in handheld devices under much different circumstances) but should put the brakes on those planning to use Intel's platform for an everyday-computing application. From Kyle Bennett's conclusion:
I did not expect the Intel Atom to take such an overall beating. ... I have spent a good week or so using both the Atom and Nano in a Windows Vista 32-bit environment, and I can tell you now that I never want to be subjected to Atom on the desktop again.
Via's onto a good thing, it seems: the Nano is pin-compatible with its earlier C7 series, meaning equipment makers can use their old chipsets and motherboards with the new CPU while tooling updated replacements.
Now all it requires is a theme tune.
Atom vs Nano [HardOCP]