So I was milling around a few minutes ago, and I thought about it.
My laptop has a 1.6Ghz Pentium Dual core ( Pentium D, yeah? ) and I was considering building a system off of ZOTAC's IONITX-A-U motherboard with the Atom 330 @ 1.6Ghz.
Both are dual core, though the Atom 330 is newer.
So I would think that the Atom would /maybe/ have more power.
Please enlighten me.
I thought about it because I saw someone here telling someone that C2D kicks the crap out of Pentium D.
The Pentium D was the last of the crappy desktop netburst pentiums that you could fry an egg on. The Pentium in your laptop is likely to be a core 2 based chip as they didn't make any dual core netburst laptop chips.
As it stands, at 1.6GHz it'd probably beat a 3GHz desktop pentium D in any drag race, and would be (at a guess) between 3-7 times faster than a dual core atom at the same speed.
The zotac will make a great htpc as long as the software uses the nVidia Purevideo HD in the Ion (perfect playback of bluray spec VC1, H264 and MPEG2) ... if you want to use it as a more general PC it will be great for general browsing / word processing etc but will fall over playing things like flash etc (though rumours are acceleration for that is on the way too).
If you're not budget constrained and looking at mini-itx for size, go for the zotac 9300 board with a celeron E1400 or Pentium E5400 (which would actually work out around the same price as the ion board) ... this would give you a speedy pc plus all the acceleration and size advantages of the ion.
If you are budget constrained, you can get AMD based microATX boards (GeForce 8200) for ~ £45 in the UK (so €55 or $65) and add in a low power AMD dual core for another £40 - fast PC plus accelerated video with 24Hz 1080p video and 8channel PCM sound out of the HDMI. IIRC you can also get 8200 based MiniITX too.
I have the single core Zotac board, works great with XBMC, but the power circuitry is noisy (v common on mini-itx boards). I also have a microatx Asus board based on the GeForce 9300 with an E5200 and works well with XBMC too.
I'd rather have the Atom 330 dual core over the P4 -D anyday. I would be very curious to see the calculations per thread comparison as the D uses a very outdated architecture and processing threading, where the new dual core Atoms are current tech, along with a much lower thermal and power rating and a smaller footprint/board requirement. Even if they benchmark out (performance-wise) identically, I would still rather have newer tech over old, outdated personal space heaters.
That's exactly what I needed to hear.
Thanks for the answers, now I'm leaning Heavily towards the ZOTAC 9300 because of the socket.
...Except it needs a power supply.
I would do Micro ATX, but it needs to be Mini-ITX, MATX would make finding a board so easy.
I'm putting it in a briefcase.
So it needs to be Mini-ITX.