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Netbook, Intel ATOM, GMA950 - performance ?

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So, while I'm waiting on my paycheck to arrive and I can finally get one of those netbooks, I have no other alternative but to bother you on the forums for some preformance information on these devices. I'm interested in making 'semi casual'/multilayer games specifically designed for netbooks, since they are getting quite popular and have little games specifically designed specifically for them. I've had one borrowed for a day reacently, and while games like Warcraft 3 and even WoW work on it, controls are not really good and it's a frustrating rather than joyful experience. So I'm interested in trying to design games that adapt to those small keyboards and touchpad input methods. Currently the most popular setup in the market is the Atom/GMA 950 and 512+ ram with WindowsXP or Linux for OS. Examples are Aspire One and Wind (and Dell recently came up with a similar config but I can't remember the name), + there are probably others I didn't see. But they all have similar specs and even tough GMA 950 is weak, it's at least standard so some HW specific optimizations could be done. Since I've never developed/used GMA I don't know much about it but from what I read things aren't good. It uses CPU for vertex processing and it's usually slower than TNT generation hardware. To make things even worse, Wikipedia says it supports only OpenGL 1.4, IIRC I read that it can use only assembly shaders (no GLSL) and the GL drivers are are far from perfect from what I came up whit google. Still, OpenGL is really a must in this case since a lot of these machines come and are used with Linux, so it seems I will have to use both DX9 and GL. WoW and Warcraft have 3D graphics and seem to work fine so it seems possible to develop simplistic ("stylized") 3D graphics. I've found tests of GMA 950 on the net but since it's highly dependent on the CPU (vertex processing) I doubt you can draw any conclusions from them since Atom is way slower than any laptop CPU (even celerons). So once again, since I've never developed / tested one of these machines I don't know the limitations of the systems and I was hoping someone could help me out so I can at least start planning, and come up with some concepts. I know this is dependent on the app but I would like some realistic estimate of the "safe minimum number of triangles" and similar, or some benchmarking results of your own if you have this sort of PC-s, generally any experience you can share that would help would be appreciated.

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The ATOM is a less than ideal for performance, it was designed for battery performance, not program performance. I've seen several benchmarks that placed the 1.6ghz atom at being a little slower than the 0.9ghz Celeron in the EeePC. I would suggest planning small, and working your way up to see how far you can push the system. Most seem to be fairly similar in specs, and with the limited number of netbooks currently on the market you shouldn't have too much trouble finding people to test on a given model.


If you need testers, I have a 16 gig Eee PC 900, running Ubuntu.

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