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This is interesting. Both Atom platforms are very similar and don't come with a plethora of add-on features. Meanwhile, the Core i3 solution comes with more connectivity and a WiFi module. We're amazed to see that it requires less idle power than the Atom 230 system. Intel’s D510MO, based on the Pineview Atom, is lower on idle power but not by much. We already found that it's possible to get even lower idle power consumption numbers, as you can see in our Maximum Efficiency: A 25W Performance PC Using Core i5 article. Clearly, Atom has no advantage whatsoever when it comes to low system power consumption.
The situation is entirely different if we put the test systems to work. The Atom's peak power increases by only a few watts (+4W for the Atom 230 and +5W for the Atom D510) while the Core i3 system requires more than 80W in full swing. In the context of low-cost PCs and the Atom in particular, this is certainly a lot, but let’s recall the performance levels. Core i3 was many times faster than Atom 230 or D510 in all benchmarks, but it doesn't require many times the power.