The first reason for this is that both the Atom and the Nano desperately need better chipset support than the two systems that we've seen to date.
The second is that neither the Atom nor the Nano has enough performance to convince us of their appeal and we really, really want a dual-core version ASAP.
Intel vs VIA: D945GCLF (left) and Nano reference
Third – and this is the killer – we have no idea how much Nano will cost. VIA address the point thus in its FAQs:
What is the anticipated price point for systems using the VIA Nano processor?
VIA does not set the price for systems or boards… pricing will be decided by our system and board partners…
As VIA SN hardware sells for £150 we see no reason why the same won’t be true for Nano, and that suggests Nano might be three times the price of Atom. Ouch.
If so, it'll be roughly three times the price of a comparable Atom. Yes, the Nano has twice the performance of the Atom - according to PCMark05 - but the premium you pay makes it a much less attractive choice.
Let's hope VIA mobo partners will offer Nano packages for a lot less than £150. If they do, we'd raise the 50 per cent score we'd give the Nano at that price to well above the 55 per cent score we gave to the desktop Atom.
From our initial survey, it's clear VIA's Nano is a promising processor. But we were unimpressed by the performance of the CN896 chipset and Chrome9 graphics, and the prospect of a £150 price fills us with horror. VIA, say it ain’t so!
VIA Nano ultra-low power processor
PCMark05 favours GenuineIntel CPUID
Does no-one at El Reg read Slashdot or Ars Technica? Ars demonstrated that just changing the CPUID of the Nano to "GenuineIntel" improves the memory subsystem benchmark by 47.4%, pushing it significantly above the Atom for memory. I'm not making this up, check the Ars Technica "Low-end grudge match: Nano vs. Atom" by Joel Hruska (29 July 2008). Worth a mention, if only for the PCMark/Intel conspiracy...
So it's unlikely to play Crysis then?
What a pile of rubbish. Where does this (p)review show that Nano is twice as fast as Atom? What are the specs of the test system - memory, hard drive(s), power supply? What did you do to it to push it to 80W? I can do 80W with a 45W dual-core AMD (under $100 including mATX mobo, miniITX might be more expensive), 1GB DDR2 and a "green" Caviar, so either the Nano, or the review is full of crap.
"As VIA SN hardware sells for £150 ... that suggests Nano might be three times the price of Atom. Ouch.
If so, it'll be roughly three times the price of a comparable Atom."