Atom, Athlon, or Nano? Energy-Savers Compared

Test Setup

System Hardware
CPU I AMD Athlon 64 2000+ (65nm, 2.0 GHz, 2MB L2 + 2MB L3 Cache)
CPU II Intel Atom 230 (45nm, 1.6 GHz, 512KB L2 Cache)
CPU III Via Nano L2100 (65nm, 1.8 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)
CPU IV Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (45nm, 3.16 GHz, 6MB L2 Cache)
AMD Chipset : 780G Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, Rev 1.0
AMD 780G, BIOS : F5
Intel Chipset : 945G ECS 945GCT-D, Rev. 1.0
Intel 945G, BIOS : 0702
Via Chipset : CN896 Via Epia-SN18000G, Rev. A1
Via CN896, BIOS : 080014
Intel Chipset : P45 Asus P5Q-E, Rev. 1.01G
Intel P45, BIOS : 0702
RAM 2GB DDR2-1066 Crucial CT25664AA1067
HDD Seagate Barracuda 7200.11, 500 GB
7,200 RPM, SATA/300, 32 MB cache
Blu-Ray LG GGW-H20L
Graphics Card P45 only GeCube Radeon HD 4850
GPU : 625 MHz
RAM : 512 MB GDDR3 (993 MHz)
Power Supply Fortron FSP220-60LE, 220 Watt
Power Supply P45 Coolermaster, ATX 2.3, 850 Watt

Software & Drivers

System Software & Drivers
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

Audio Benchmarks and Settings
Benchmark Details
iTunes Version :
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Lame MP3 Version 3.98
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
wave to mp3
160 Kbps

Application Benchmarks and Settings
Benchmark Details
Winrar 3.80 Version 3.70 BETA 8
WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3
Compression = Best
Dictionary = 4096 KB
Benchmark : THG-Workload
Winzip 11 Version 11.2
Compression = Best
Benchmark : THG-Workload
Maxon Cinema 4D Release 10 Version : 10.008
Rendering from a scene
(Water drop at a Rose)
Resolution : 1280 x 1024 - 8Bit (50 frames)
Sysmark 2004 SE Version 1.04
Office Productivity

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

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.