Besides the dual core N550, the netbook-class Atom N series lineup includes the single core N450, N455, N470 and N475, as well as older N270 and N280. The N550, as same as the N455 and N475, are designed for use with DDR3 memory, instead of old DDR2. The processor runs at 1.5GHz, whereas the single core chips have clock speeds of 1.60, 1.66, or 1.83GHz. However, it doesn’t mean that the N550 is slower in computing tasks.
Contrary, the reviewed CPU beats other Atoms in benchmark tests done by various websites.
According to Engadget’s review of the HP Mini 5103 with the Intel Atom N550, the included chip is better in PCMark05 benchmarks than N450-based netbooks, achieving 1,866 points versus around 1,200. However, the CPU is slower than the AMD Athlon II Neo K125 for ultrathin laptops, which has a score of 2,286.
Joanna Stern from Engadget said “the 5103 definitely felt snappy for a netbook”.
“We’re not talking Core i3 power here, of course. Our typical netbook routine – writing this review in Microsoft Word, running Firefox with a handful of tabs open and listening to the new Weepies CD in iTunes – felt faster than usual,” she said.
In a CNet’s review, the Atom N550-powered Asus Eee PC 1015PEM has finished a Jalbum photo conversion test in 113 seconds, which is faster than 167 seconds of the Aspire One AOD260 with the Atom N475. The N550 is also better in a multimedia multitasking test, finished in 2232 seconds versus 3024. However, in iTunes encoding the 1015PEM is slower with a result of 848 seconds versus 749.
CNet’s Scott Stein says that most everyday tasks with the 1015PEM will feel “exactly the same as they do on any other netbook”.
“The difference comes in multitasking: if you like to download and Web browse and stream audio and do other things all at once, the 1015PEM will feel less chuggy,” he claims.
The Atom N550 is also faster than the N450 in Liliputing’s video transcode, audio transcode, and folder zip tests. But, again, it’s slower than the AMD Athlon II Neo K125 and Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 ULV.
Here’s what Brad Linder from Liliputing says about the performance of the reviewed HP Mini 5103:
“HP mini 5103 definitely felt quite zippy and responsive. Subjectively, it feels like one of the fastest 10 inch netbooks I’ve used. But it’s not as powerful as a machine with an Intel CULV or AMD Nile processor. Not by a long shot”.
Also, Notebook Italia has reviewed the Asus Eee PC 1015PN netbook, which includes the N550. In the built-in benchmark tool of the 7-Zip file archiver, the processor is faster than the nettop-use Atom D510 and Atom 330 and is almost twice as fast as the Atom N450 and Core 2 Solo SU3300.
Regarding power consumption, the Atom N550 has a maximal thermal design power of 8.5watts, while the other Atom chips consume up to 6.5W, depending on model. Its greater power consumption because of the extra core means that it drains netbook batteries faster, but battery life of the reviewed N500 netbooks wasn’t significantly reduced.
It’s important to say that the N4xx models have an integrated graphics core on the CPU die, but the GPU isn’t capable to provide fluent 720p HD video playback or 3D gaming.