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HTPC: Atom D525 or Zecate E350?

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April 2, 2011 6:32:27 AM

I am currently trying to build a mid-range HTPC. I am trying to choose a mobo for my build I would like it to support 4gb of ram, have a spdif out, hdmi out, sata 6.0 and a gigabit LAN. I know this limits my options significantly but I am still curious as to which processor best fits my needs. I have always been an Intel guy but the AMD E350 with the new fusion tech and DX11 support sounds tasty. Planning to run Windows 7, blu-ray, and light video encoding. If you could suggest a mobo too that would be great, but mainly need to know about the CPU. Thanks
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April 2, 2011 1:45:12 PM

If you are doing any encoding at all, I would steer clear of both atom and fusion (and that's coming from a fusion owner, check out the link in my signature). You would be much happier with an i3-2100 plus H67 motherboard.

An i3-2100 runs $125, and a cheap H67 board costs ~$100. A little more than an ion or zacate setup, but much more powerful.
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a c 473 à CPUs
April 2, 2011 3:11:56 PM

If you are playing back MKV files encoded with the x.264 codec, then stay away from the Atom since there are some performance issues.

I have no idea how good or bad the AMD E350 is.

If you are gonna encode using DivX or XviD, then I guess you'll be ok if you are not expecting moderate or fast speed encoding.
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April 2, 2011 3:33:22 PM

My fusion handles x.264 and VC-1 without any issues. The MKV's must be perfectly DXVA compliant though, so the video does all the heavy lifting.
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April 2, 2011 4:56:41 PM

TahoeJones said:
I am currently trying to build a mid-range HTPC. I am trying to choose a mobo for my build I would like it to support 4gb of ram, have a spdif out, hdmi out, sata 6.0 and a gigabit LAN. I know this limits my options significantly but I am still curious as to which processor best fits my needs. I have always been an Intel guy but the AMD E350 with the new fusion tech and DX11 support sounds tasty. Planning to run Windows 7, blu-ray, and light video encoding. If you could suggest a mobo too that would be great, but mainly need to know about the CPU. Thanks


Unless you plan to actually game on this, which I doubt because the integrated GPU for the E350 couldn't handle DX11 truthfully, then that should not matter.

While Atom is a bit slow in terms of some HD video, I just worked on a laptop with the E350 and I can say that it felt a tad.... slow. Not only that but it felt like a netbook in a bigger setting. Pretty much a lot like Atom.

If you want all of this, I would probably wait and see what Intel has planned for their low end Sandy Bridge CPUs. Or thie ULP CPUs. Those would make a much nicer HTPC.
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April 2, 2011 5:10:04 PM

Llano will be very interesting too, might want to wait for that. Rumor has a July release of that one or 3Q by other sources. Until an official date is released by AMD you know how much value that rumor has...
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April 4, 2011 6:51:55 PM

rwpritchett said:
If you are doing any encoding at all, I would steer clear of both atom and fusion (and that's coming from a fusion owner, check out the link in my signature). You would be much happier with an i3-2100 plus H67 motherboard.

An i3-2100 runs $125, and a cheap H67 board costs ~$100. A little more than an ion or zacate setup, but much more powerful.


I completely agree about using an i3, I might just do that. Any complaints about the H67? or would I be better off taking my GTS 250 out of my comp and use that?
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April 4, 2011 8:26:12 PM

jimmysmitty said:
Unless you plan to actually game on this, which I doubt because the integrated GPU for the E350 couldn't handle DX11 truthfully, then that should not matter.


Not all games are dx11.

Quote:
While Atom is a bit slow in terms of some HD video, I just worked on a laptop with the E350 and I can say that it felt a tad.... slow. Not only that but it felt like a netbook in a bigger setting. Pretty much a lot like Atom.


Funny but you are the only person to have felt this. I haven't read a single review anywhere that suggests the E350 is "a lot like atom".

In fact...

http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/07/lenovo-thinkpad-x120...

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The benchmarks below prove much of what we already knew about AMD's Fusion Zacate – it absolutely wrecks the previous Neo platform and Intel's Atom on performance, while handily beating Intel's integrated graphics.


Ok so benchmarks can lie I guess? Well what about...

Quote:
Those high numbers also translated to really peppy everyday performance. There's no doubt that the system just felt faster than any Atom netbook or Neo-powered system we've used. The machine kept up with us as we wrote this review in Microsoft Word Starter 2010, had over eight tabs open in Chrome (one of them being Pandora), and simultaneously ran TweetDeck, Trillian, Skype, GIMP, and Windows Media Player in the background. Even when we threw a 1080p clip into the mix, the system remained really responsive.


Or maybe it was full of bloatware and you didn't notice? Anandtech http://www.anandtech.com/show/4187/hp-dm1z-taking-fusio... says this...

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The only thing that hurts about using the dm1z, really, is the amount of bloatware it ships with from HP. That stuff can be uninstalled, though, and if you put a clean installation of Windows 7 on the dm1z you're going to find a surprisingly capable little computer that really screams past the Atom-based netbooks of old. It only felt sluggish when I was using it next to another computer with a mainstream or better processor; otherwise the dm1z was perfectly serviceable and a far cry from the waitfest that an Atom-based netbook can quickly become.


Or maybe you were comparing it to something totally out of its league? Like a desktop maybe?

Whatever your problem was, nobody else finds Fusion to be sluggish or just like atom.
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April 4, 2011 8:27:22 PM

rwpritchett said:
Llano will be very interesting too, might want to wait for that. Rumor has a July release of that one or 3Q by other sources. Until an official date is released by AMD you know how much value that rumor has...


Llano has been shipping for revenue for a couple of months and will be released at computex on May 31st.
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April 4, 2011 8:42:07 PM

Oh wait there's even more!

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X120e-Re...

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Despite being a sub-$600 ultraportable, the ThinkPad X120e felt like something far more powerful. Boot up was snappy, and the desktop was usable within seconds.


Quote:
Despite Internet Explorer being loaded with the "Bing Bar," it managed to load that far, far more quickly than Dell's Inspiron Duo did. We would obviously recommend ditching IE right away and using Chrome or Firefox, but it was a simple thing that proved that the Zacate has significantly more power than even a newer Atom.


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Multi-tasking on this machine is also very good. You really forget that you're working on what would normally be considered a low-end machine.


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Just opening applications, browsing the web, firing up video clips and transferring files just felt smoother on this machine than what we've felt on the vast majority of Atom-based notebooks.


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It's performance level wasn't in-line with Atom and Neo CPUs, but rather somewhat more powerful CPUs; that could be found in mainstream notebooks and desktops just a few months ago.


But that's the most powerful one, the E-350. Such power in such a small tdp is going to cost. So what about the C-350 at 1ghz?

http://apcmag.com/the-netbook-to-buy-toshiba-nb550d.htm

Well it's "the netbook to buy"

Quote:
When using a netbook feels like you're using a "real" computer, you know you're onto a winner.


Quote:
...the experience using this netbook is satisfying and feels more like a “proper” computer than what we’ve seen in the past. If you want a netbook, buy this one.


So there you have it. It is not sluggish or "just like atom".
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a c 102 à CPUs
April 4, 2011 9:29:45 PM

OK here is my view. Atom is very poor performance the E350 is alot better and the i3 (and any other full size desktop processor) is in another league. As for the integrated graphics the E350 is the best but any except maybe the very cheapest dedicated card is a world better. If you thought the Atom or E350 may have been enough you could consider an Athlon x3 as its alot cheaper than the i3 and the motherboards are alot cheaper to.
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April 9, 2011 1:22:07 AM

Best answer selected by TahoeJones.
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