Review: No match for Atom Dual-Core
In our first review of the Nano that you can read here we were unfortunate to get a defective mainboard which ran too hot, causing the Nano throttling the clock down. That is why our scores were way lower than they should have been.
We were informed that this happened with a few initial samples. VIA just wants to show the potential of the platform and big OEMs such as HP will come with Nano-based netbooks; this is the key target that VIA wants to hit, and its main competitor is single-core Atom 230.
VIA was kind enough to hand deliver us a new sample. This board is not a production board for the masses, but a modified version of an embedded industry board that runs VIA Nano. VIA has been focusing on the highly profitable embedded market for years, and the board features more connectors and slots compared to any Atom platform you will ever see. Intel doesn't want to cannibalize its own desktop platform, so they have strict rules to prevent any vendor from building something special.
Nano CPU has 64kB of instruction and data L1 cache each and 1MB 2nd level cache, which all run 16-way associative, while Atom has a 24kB 6-way L1 data cache, 32kB 8-way L1 instruction cache and 512kB 8-way L2 cache. On paper Nano looks better.
VIA modified SN board series (provided by VIA)
Nano L2100 1.80GHz
VIA CN896/VIA VT8237S
A-Data 1GB PC2-6400 CL4
Jetway Radeon HD3870 (provided by mec-electronics)
ITX 80W external/internal power supply
Seasonic S12II 330W power supply
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 80GB (provided by Seagate)