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What is the processor of the N9 / N950? Is it fast enough?

Both the N9 and the N950 have ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP 3630 processor clocked at 1,0 GHz. It is a single core processor. It comes with PowerVR SGX530 GPU (hardware graphics accelerator) providing support for OpenGL ES 1.1, Open GL ES 2.0, and OpenVG.

If you are interested in advanced technical details, you can find more about it here.

Whether it is 'fast enough' is a difficult question as it is a very relative thing. Generally, no computer is 'fast enough' and being even faster surely wouldn't hurt. But yes, the N9 is fast and smooth and working with it is an enjoyable experience. At least for now, while it is new and not yet overloaded with 3rd party software and lots of user data.

And, again, whether having a dual-core 1,2 GHz processor would make a serious difference is a tough question. First of all, system software would need to be properly optimized to efficiently use two cores. Without it, the most significant result would probably be higher power consumption. Even with the current single-core 1,0 GHz processor, there are still areas where optimization is needed and would further improve performance, like e.g. support for hardware acceleration in the browser. Finally, to take advantage of faster dual-core processor, it would take having hardware and functionality capable of utilizing such increased performance. The OMAP 3630 inside the N9 supports cameras up to 12 MPix, so for N9's 8 MPix camera it seems to be entirely sufficient. It does support HD 720p video recording, and that's the maximum video resolution of N9's camera, so even if a faster CPU allowed for HD 1080p, the camera hardware probably couldn't use it, anyway. And due to no HDMI-out connector, there is no need for performance enabling HD 1080p video playback as there is no way to output it to an external full HD display. And so on.

To recap, N9's / N950's 1,0 GHz single-core OMAP 3630 seems to be a sufficient (or at least not an insuficient) solution. A dual-core processor probably wouldn't deliver considerable performance boost without software optimizations and due to hardware components not really able to utilize such increased performance. Maybe a better choice would be the same processor as now but with a slightly faster clock frequency like 1,2 GHz. Hopefully, the processor will turn out to be as nicely overclockable as the one of the N900, and community-made overclocking tools will appear soon.

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