Atom, Athlon, or Nano? Energy-Savers Compared

Test Setup

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CPU IAMD Athlon 64 2000+ (65nm, 2.0 GHz, 2MB L2 + 2MB L3 Cache)
CPU IIIntel Atom 230 (45nm, 1.6 GHz, 512KB L2 Cache)
CPU IIIVia Nano L2100 (65nm, 1.8 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)
CPU IVIntel Core 2 Duo E8500 (45nm, 3.16 GHz, 6MB L2 Cache)
AMD Chipset : 780GGigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, Rev 1.0
AMD 780G, BIOS : F5
Intel Chipset : 945GECS 945GCT-D, Rev. 1.0
Intel 945G, BIOS : 0702
Via Chipset : CN896Via Epia-SN18000G, Rev. A1
Via CN896, BIOS : 080014
Intel Chipset : P45Asus P5Q-E, Rev. 1.01G
Intel P45, BIOS : 0702
RAM2GB DDR2-1066 Crucial CT25664AA1067
HDDSeagate Barracuda 7200.11, 500 GB
7,200 RPM, SATA/300, 32 MB cache
Blu-RayLG GGW-H20L
Graphics Card P45 onlyGeCube Radeon HD 4850
GPU : 625 MHz
RAM : 512 MB GDDR3 (993 MHz)
Power SupplyFortron FSP220-60LE, 220 Watt
Power Supply P45Coolermaster, ATX 2.3, 850 Watt

Software & Drivers

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Operating System Sysmark Windows XP SP2
DirectX 9 Version : April 2007
AMD Drivers Radeon 8.8
Intel Chipset INF :
VIA Chipset Hyperion Pro : 5.20a
Java Java Runtime Environment 6.0 Update 1

220-W High Efficiency Power Supply

We don’t want to forget one of the most important components we used for this reviews : Fortron’s FSP220 high efficiency power supply. As you can tell by the model number, this product was designed for a maximum output of 220 W, which is more than enough for our low-power systems. The reason we used it is the increased efficiency—PSUs will reach their highest efficiency only when operated within the output wattage range for which they were designed. Some PSUs are most efficient for low loads, while others are better for high loads. However, if you use an 800 W PSU and only use 28-50 W, the efficiency will certainly not be in an ideal range. This is why we used the FSP220—it guarantees that the PSU runs within an efficient load corridor.

Benchmarks and Settings

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iTunesVersion : CD (Terminator II SE), 53 minDefault format AAC
Lame MP3Version 3.98Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minwave to mp3160 Kbps
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Winrar 3.80Version 3.70 BETA 8WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3Compression = BestDictionary = 4096 KBBenchmark : THG-Workload
Winzip 11Version 11.2Compression = BestBenchmark : THG-Workload
Maxon Cinema 4D Release 10Version : 10.008Rendering from a scene(Water drop at a Rose)Resolution : 1280 x 1024 - 8Bit (50 frames)
Sysmark 2004 SEVersion 1.04Office Productivity

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

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PCMark05Version : 1.20
PCMark Benchmark
Memories Benchmark
CPU Benchmark
Graphics Benchmark
Windows Media Player

We used SYSmark 2004 instead of the newer SYSmark 2007 Preview, because the latter would not finish on the test systems reliably. It also does not make a lot of sense to execute rather high-end applications on these low-end low-power systems.