The Atom processor family is Intel's attempt to give OEMs a mobile processor that is gentle on the battery while delivering suitable performance. The first generation Atom fell far short of that performance goal, and subsequent iterations were not much better. Finally, the current Bay Trail generation of the Atom hits the ball out of the park.
The performance history of Atom disappointed users so consistently that every time a new iteration was announced by Intel, enthusiasm was not the reaction. A common response to each announcement was "let's wait and see how it really performs". That was the response again when Intel announced the Bay Trail update to the Atom mobile processor.
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I couldn't be happier to report that Intel has finally delivered on the promise of performance and low power requirement with Bay Trail.
My Asus Transformer Book T100 has the newest Bay Trail processor and it rocks. This tablet feels as fast as any Core processor-equipped laptop or tablet I've used with Windows 8. Everything I do on the T100 feels instantaneous, even the graphics are smooth and fast.
Intel has delivered what it's been promising for years with Atom, and it's a very noticeable jump from previous generations. Bay Trail doesn't feel like a stripped down mobile processor, it is as fast as any processor should be.
I've been quick to come down hard on Intel for its failure with earlier versions of Atom, so it's only fair I give them kudos when they get it right. The Bay Trail family of processors are mobile processors done right, and Intel should be proud for getting it done the way it should be.
I shouldn't be the only one giving Intel credit for Bay Trail. Microsoft executives should be shouting praises to Intel. Bay Trail could be the best thing for Windows tablets, as big as the Windows 8.1 update. There is now a solid platform for Windows tablets that make them economical and without performance compromises. Yes, Microsoft should be pretty darn happy now.