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Chipset Comparison: AMD vs. Intel

Athlon Vs. Atom: Duel Of The Energy Savers
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The processor from AMD runs on the 780G chipset. Compared to Intel’s 945G platform, it provides several extra features, and uses less energy.

We compared the Intel and AMD chipsets based on how they were implemented and used on the motherboard.

Northbridge: Intel vs. AMD
Chipset Northbridge Intel 945GC AMD 780G
Energy Consumption 22.2 Watts (TDP) 11.4 Watts (TDP)
Dual Channel Yes Yes
Graphics GMA950 Radeon HD3200
H.264 No Yes
Vista Aero Yes Yes
PCIe x16 No Yes
Dual Monitor No Yes
DVI No Yes
HDMI + HDCP No Yes

The AMD chipset uses only a fraction of the energy that the Atom’s platform uses on the desktop, and offers a whole set of additional functions. The onboard graphics solution performs better, and offers superior video acceleration as well as a DVI/HDMI port.

Southbridge: Intel vs. AMD
Platform Intel Atom AMD Athlon 64
Chipset Southbridge Intel ICH7 AMD SB700
Energy Consumption 3.3 Watt (TDP) X.XX Watt (TDP)
SATA 2 6
IDE 2 2
USB 4x USB 2.0 12x USB 2.0 2x USB 1.1
PCIe x1 1 1
PCI 1 2

It is hard to comprehend why, though the ICH7 southbridge from Intel technically offers four SATA ports, that manufacturers implement no more than 2 ports on their boards. On the other hand, the AMD solution with six SATA ports offers more options for file servers and other applications.

The better functionality of the AMD solution comes at a price. The board uses the microATX form factor, whereas Intel’s Atom board is available in significantly smaller miniITX and miniDTX versions. The microATX board from AMD is for the desktop market and larger cases. We used the microATX board in the comparison because it is currently the smallest version with most energy-saving chipset for AM2 sockets. This obviously comes with a disadvantage in size.

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