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Atom vs Tegra in Windows 8: battle of the mobile chips

Intel Atom Z2760 vs Nvidia Tegra 3 in Windows 8

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Hands-on and conclusion

With one exception, the Intel Atom Z2760 is clearly faster than the Nvidia Tegra 3. The difference in performance isn't huge, so while the Atom Z2760 is the winner, the Tegra 3 can still compete.

It should be noted that Atom Z2760 is not a fast processor by any stretch of the imagination. When you put it next to a Core i3 or i5, it can't keep up. But for the fullscreen Windows 8 app you don't need a lot of CPU power. Both the Atom-based VivoTab Smart and the Tegra 3-based VivoTab RT feel responsive and certainly not sluggish. The benchmark results are reflected by the real-life user experience, however. On the Atom, apps do start a little faster, web sites render slightly quicker, and games run more smoothly. The game Pinball FX2 from Microsoft is a bit jerky on the ARM tablet, while it plays smoothly on the Atom tablet. 

With energy consumption Intel comes out on top, even if the difference is very small. Both platforms are very energy-efficient, we were able to view 9.5 hours of HD video and do 6 hours of more demanding tasks.

The two ASUS tablets are not that far off in terms of overall performance, but the price differential is the reverse of what you'd expect. The VivoTab Smart (Intel Atom) with 64 GB of storage is available from £399, while the VivoTab RT (Nvidia Tegra) with 64 GB of storage has a starting price of £499. The ARM version is £100 more expensive, in other words.

The Intel model is faster, cheaper, and more importantly, it's compatible with all Windows software. The ARM version is limited to the Modern UI applications and Office 2013. It begs the question, is there a good reason for buying a Windows RT tablet? The free Office 2013 license is about the only argument we can think of, but since Office 2013 Home & Student isn't even that expensive, it's not a great argument.


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