Intel Atom or Intel Core i5?

When seeking processor punch for your buck, should you go with Intel Atom or Intel Core i5? Alex Dmytruszko writes:

Hi Chris,

I’d like to know your opinion on the Atom Z2760 processor in comparison to the Intel Core i5 processor. I am in the market for a tablet PC and have decided that a $500-$600 price point may do the trick. I will be using the tablet for basic Web browsing, YouTube videos, Flash, and Word/Excel. I am under the impression that the Atom will perform just fine for those tasks.

My question: do you also believe that the Atom Z2760 processor will perform fine for the tasks that I’ve mentioned above? Will HD video playback be smooth via HDMI to TV? I’m not a gamer, nor do I plan to use my tablet for memory intensive apps like Adobe Creative Suite or 3D Studio Max. Your thoughts are much appreciated and I’m considering the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 or the Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx as they are both sleek and thin devices.

Intel Atom or Intel Core I5

Is the Intel Atom Z2760 good enough, or is the Intel Core i5 the right choice?

I decided to do a direct comparison on the Intel Atom Z2760 versus the Intel Core i5-337U on cpubenchmark.net. The reasoning behind the Intel Core i5-337U is because it has the same clock speed as the Atom and the results show that the Intel Core i5 has the better performance versus the Atom. However, I have said before that specifications aren’t the be all and end all.

In fact, one of our writers, Maximilian Majewski, has been singing the praises of the Intel Atom Z2760 processor: “I’ve had great experience with the Atom CPU, since I own a Samsung ATIV Smart PC. HD playback is no problem, both in Flash and various file formats, through HDMI. Photoshop runs great, though it starts a little slow. It’s possible to work on a PSD file or a RAW photo file — just expect a little longer loading times. For the slight compromise in raw power, you get amazing battery life. Don’t expect to play any games though, apart from those available in the Windows Store.” He adds, “The Samsung ATIV comes with a pen, which is quite useful in many ways. It’s also integrated into the tablet itself, unlike on the Surface Pro. It works great for note-taking and even handwriting recognition.”

Intel Atom or Intel Core i5?

It would stand to reason that anything the Intel Atom Z2760 can do, the Intel Core i5 should be able to do, too. However, after searching Amazon (and beyond) for two tablets with Intel Core i5 inside as direct comparisons, it became obvious that the Intel Core i5 tablets are out with your $500-$600 price range. I would conclude that the Intel Core i5-based tablets may be more powerful, but since you’re not doing anything that should be processor or RAM heavy, the Intel Atom Z2760-based tablets will suit your needs. The Intel Atom 2760 processor is even able to run processor or RAM heavy apps, like Photoshop, if you need or want to dabble in that area.

I hope this helps.

Image by Köf3 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL] via Wikimedia Commons

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • http://nerrad.eu darren_

    The Atom processor will work fine for all needs. Although if you do light video editing or tasks which require rendering or debugging, then it’s suggested to get the i5 because of the better architecture. With the CPU’s architecture in the i5 ivy-bridge though, your battery life will be sacrificed.

    Atom processors tend to fall behind when using more than one or two applications at a time. I would never lay my money on something less than a i5 or amd FX processor.