I3-2100T/2120T vs AMD e350 vs Atom

Looking to build an ultra-low power system for basic home desktop use. Will sit in a Mini-Box case and mount behind the LCD screen. Convection cooling ideally, failing that I'll be using just the CPU fan. One small lower power laptop hard disk. System will run cool and quiet and consume very little power.

I am looking at the i3-2100/2120T series, the AMD e350 series, and the Atom (D525).

I think the Atom is out of the running at the AMD bests it in most benchmarks.

I think the i3 is at the top of the list because its got a lot more power should we need it... I'd like this system to last several years at a minimum, preferably more. Right now the lady of the house would use it for basic online stuff, and the kids would use it for school stuff with some gaming (online flash games, but as they get older they may venture into "real" games).

Essentially the difference in price between a few systems I've spec'd between i3 and e350 are $150 or so, and if I can get a few years' more use out of the i3, for $150 more, I'll go that route. So not sure which route to go.

I build a Phenom-II X4 system a year ago with 8GB RAM and its doing me just fine, however its already out dated and being outpaced by system costing half as much and consuming a third the power... grrrr....

Opinions? Is it worth a couple hundred bucks to go with the i3 and extend the life of the system, and will the i3 still shine in a box with essentially no active cooling, or should I go with the e350 (or even the crazy low power Atom) and accept the fact that I will now be upgrading systems every couple years? My last P4 lasted me almost 10 years!!!! Ha.
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  1. i3, hands down. Even the lowest end of the SB line will completely blow anything else out of the water. Although I'd use the Pentium Dual Core G640 over the Atom any day of the week - it's about the same price and it's an SB chip.

    Use a Seagate Momentus XT as your primary HD (or go full 128GB SSD), use a laptop optical drive (or USB powered one), run the graphics off the built-in Intel GPU, you're set.
  2. core i3 is definitely more powerful than the e 350. between the two the core i3 is the superior one for everyday use.
    amd has another platform for entry level - llano. llano series' a8 3850 or 3800 are true quad core cpus that has more powerful, discreet class igp in them. they're powerful enough to deliver playable framerates in recent games at low settings. llano's igp is more powerful than core i3's.
    depending on model, llano cpus might take more power than core i3's on average though.
  3. E350 with an SSD
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