Last December 29, 2011, Intel officially announced its Cedar Trail line of Atom processors for netbooks.

While Cedar Trail CPUs (including N2600 and N2800, which power most new netbook releases from companies like Asus and Acer) share the same dual core architecture as their Pine Trail predecessors like N450 and N550, the former is better in at least three ways.

First, Cedar Trail's dual core chip is 32nm vs. PineTrail's 45nm; This means that you can fit more transistors on the Cedar Trail die making it more powerful. Second, Cedar Trail features an improved on die GPU for enhanced graphics rendering performance. And finally, the more updated chip consumes 20% less power than Pine Trail, which results in longer uptime.

Earlier, I checked the PassMark CPU benchmark test results of N2600 and N2800 and compared them with that of N450 and N550. PassMark CPU Benchmark results were gathered directly from user submissions to the PassMark website as well as from internal testing. PassMark conducts eight different tests and then averages the results together to determine the CPU Mark for a system. These eight tests include Integer Maths Test, Prime Number Test, Encryption Test, Compression Test, Floating Point Math Test, SSE/3D Now Test, Streaming SIMD extensions, and String Sorting Test.

Here are the results:

n2600 vs n550, intel atom n2600 vs n550

Note that although N450 has the same 200Mhz GPU as N550, the former only has a single core architecture vs. dual core for N550. Also, notice how close the results are for N2600 and N550 - both are dual core CPUs but N2600 has a more powerful 400Mhz GPU. (One thing thing that PassMark doesn't quite measure is Thermal Design Power, which is an area where N2600 totally slays N550; You get a 5W difference between the two, which means that N2600 runs a lot cooler and consumes less energy when running.) N2800, on the other hand, not only has a faster dual core clockspeed vs. N550 and N2600 but also features a 640 MHz GPU.

Did you upgrade from a Pine Trail powered netbook to one that's run by Cedar Trail? What can you say about your new netbook? How does it compare to the old one? Kindly share your comments and thoughts below.