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SaurabhTorne

Unity LapTab/Atom processor laptops Windows 10

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Hi,

Are Atom processor Window 10 Laptab or laptops suitable for software development  and game development instead of a regular bulky Laptop.  Basically games using visual studio for game engines such as Unity and UDK or any other smaller game engines using c++ or C#.

thank you.

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It all depends on what you are building, and the specifics of the device.

 

Assuming you get a system with enough graphics hardware, the system is probably capable of doing the tasks. You would be able to build and compile, you can execute the programs.

 

It won't be fast and it will likely burn through your battery, and if you have any serious compute demands you are likely to see more of a slideshow than an interactive game.  But it can probably run.

 

 

Most of the devices are basically an interface to the web and email. You can play games that are made from them, but don't expect anywhere near what you see on a modern desktop device, or even a modern laptop (which typically are a year or three behind desktops in technology).

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They're 64 bit CPUs, though some of the least expensive devices might only have 2GB of non-upgradable RAM and come with a 32-bit OS (Microsoft basically gives Windows away for some kinds of low-spec devices).

Performance-wise, you-re looking at a CPU core that's probably less than half the speed of an i-series CPU between lower clocks and IPC, probably doesn't support AVX, and has a lot less cache. You're looking at single-channel memory. You're looking at an integrated GPU that's only 12 or 18 shader lanes wide (compared to 24, 48, or 72 on the i-series) that are clocked about half as fast, have no EDRAM, and have to share that single memory channel with running programs.

It might work for you, but it's not going to be a premium -- maybe not even comfortable -- experience. You might be better off saving for a lower-end, non-atom machine -- even one that's last-years model or a gently-used/refurbished machine might be a better value if cost is a factor.

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Atoms are slow, but there are tablet-like computers with i5 or i7 configurations, such as the Surface Pro series. I have a Surface Pro 2 with an i5 and 8GB ram, and it's awesome. I wouldn't want to use it as a primary development machine mostly due to the small screen, but it works great for tinkering a bit while travelling and such.

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and come with a 32-bit OS
 

Sometimes it's not only because of licensing.

Say, Intel D2700DC mobo had gpu that is basically licensed SGX core, not Intel.

There's only 32-bit drivers for it (comes as blobs from SGX maybe?). So even if you have 64-bit cpu, you're stuck with 32-bit windows if you want accelerated video. Not sure if that shit still happens...

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Atom is a really, really poor choice. I strongly advise against buying one.

Some of the newer ones (not all!) are formally 64-bit CPUs, but even if you own a license for a 64-bit operating system (they ship with 32-bit Windows), chances are you cannot use it as such since there are additional non-obvious hurdles with the chipset and the BIOS which prevent you from enabling 64-bit mode (plus, there's the thing about no drivers being available). 64 bits is more a theoretical thing than a practical one. Most things with an Atom inside do not let you expand memory either, which isn't precisely cool.

Wikipedia states that Atom is about half the performance of a Pentium M at comparable clock speed. From actually owning one, I can confirm that this is not in any way an unfair pessimization. These things are sooooooo darn, annoyingly slow. Develop on that? No way. In fact, they suck so much you sometimes cannot even properly use them for "consumer purposes".

Open three or four tabs in Firefox with a page like e.g. Amazon "this week's offers on DVDs" and "special offers buy 2, get one free" (or, whatever, you get the idea) where there are rotating banner ads and a few dozen thumbnail images, and you're fucked. Totally fucked.
Merely loading the page and reloading the rotating ads every 10 or so seconds takes up 100% of your computer's resources. Click anywhere (including the close window button) and it takes 5-6 seconds before anything happens. So basically, it's pretty much unusable.

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I guess Atom processors have a long way to go before being a truly portable station for game developers. It would have been pretty handy. Surface pro is quite costly too.

 

Note that there are other brands with similar hardware configurations that are cheaper. One of the primary things to ask yourself if whether or not touch input is important to you. I almost never use it on my Surface for example.

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I tried an Atom-based tablet a few years back. It was horribly, unbelievably slow. It felt like trying to run Skyrim on an Atari 1200.

Due to that experience alone, I'm not giving anything with the "Atom" name any second chances.

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