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Athlon Vs. Atom: Duel Of The Energy Savers

AMD Athlon 64 vs. Intel Atom

AMD and Intel both use 300 mm wafer disks in their production lines. At 77 mm², the Athlon 64 2000+ is more than three times larger than the Atom at 24 mm², which means Intel can produce and sell three times as many CPUs. in fact, Intel can get about 2,500 processors per wafer, while AMD can get only about 800.

CPUAtomAthlon 64
Power4 Watts8 Watts
Transistors47 million122 million
Size24.18 mm²77.2 mm²
Core Voltage1.088 V0.900 V

The Athlon 64 2000+ has 122 million transistors, and the Atom 230 only 47 million. If you look at the relationship between the number of transistors and energy consumption, a single Athlon 64 transistor uses less energy than an Atom transistor, even though Intel produces it using a 45 nm process while AMD relies on 65 nm manufacturing.

The Athlon 64 2000+ (OPN ADF2000IAV4DRE) runs on the Lima core at stepping G0. The HyperTransport frequency is 1000 MHz. This, of course, saves additional energy versus AMD’s more modern Phenom X3 and X4 CPUs. The Athlon 64 is on the same level as the Atom in terms of multimedia extensions, and the 64-bit instruction set has also been implemented.

Functions Pentium Dual-CoreCeleron 220Atom Z5 SeriesAtom N270Atom 230Athlon 64 2000+
Manufacturing65 nm65 nm45 nm45 nm45 nm65 nm
L1-Cache32-KB Data 32-KB Instr.32-KB Data 32-KB Instr.32-KB Instr. 24-KB WB Data32-KB Instr. 24-KB WB Data32-KB Instr. 24-KB WB Data64-KB Data 64-KB Instr.
L2-Cache1MB512 KB512 KB512 KB512 KB512 KB
FSB200 MHz (800QDR)133 MHz (533QDR)100 MHz (400QDR) 133 MHz (533QDR)133 MHZ (533QDR)133 MHZ (533QDR)200 MHz 1000HTT
64 BitEM64TEM64TEM64TEM64TEM64TX86-64
Energy SavingC1E Speedstep-C1E SpeedstepC1E Speedstep--
Thermal MonitorTM1&2TM1&2TM1&2TM1&2TM1&2-
Virus ProtectionXD bitXD bitXD bitXD bitXD bitXD bit

  • tai_anjing_lu
    Yeah Tom's now AMD/ATI fanboy
  • wh3resmycar
    oh please, spare me those kind of crap...

    clearly the 780g platforms owns any nvidia/intel chipset to date.

    about the article:

    this is a winner, i mean this is like the ultimate HTPC setup you can ever heat/power worries just plain movie enjoyment :D
  • tai_anjing_lu
    Believe it or not, my Sempron 1100 OC could kill the ugly Intel Q9550+ :lol
  • photoguru
    wow... good choices for matching mobos... why even take the time to write these articles? If you're comparing HTPCs that are low cost, efficient, and fast enough for encoding and decoding then do it with the right gear. Don't tell me that an ultra mobile processor just got pwned by a desktop chip unless they figured out how to make that desktop chip fit in an ultra mobile form factor.

    It doesn't make sense to compare them on those terms unless your entire argument is based on wattage and not actual form factor performance.

    I will say that it would be interesting to find out what combination of low cost parts makes the most reasonable HTPC as far as performance/cost goes (with watts and temps included in case we could passively cool these babies).
  • barathn
    Nice article.. surprising to see AMD doing better than Intel ATOM
  • guusdekler
    Tom's choice of AMD hardware is a bit shortsighted in my opinion.
    There exist a lot more options that the matx board of his choice.

    Let me name some of the MINI-ITX boards there are for AMD AM2 AM2+:
    - Albatron KI690-AM2
    - AOpen NMCP68ST-LA
    - JetWay NC62K-LF
    - MSI Fuzzy 690T

    Allricht they employ a different chipset than the 780G but still very competetive as i derive this information from a dutch hardware magazine that tested these boards against intel's solution and especially the AOpen and MSI boards beat the crap out of intel's D201GLY2 board.
  • apache_lives
    see this is what AMD is all about!!!!!!!!!!!

    Intel - produces first generation, limited, expensive and unflexible setups, AMD creates a cheaper flexible option for the masses, which kicks Intel back in line.

    This opens the low power platform up to all new ideas, and allows vista to run properly thanks to the video performance etc, and ram support.

    Nice one AMD!
  • Wow! great, I hope next time, in 45 nm AMD will bring 2 phenom in one socket and become the new Phenom X8(like Intel pentium D) its just kick the new Intel Core i7. He, he, he...
  • venteras
    I agree with photoguru, this is a pointless comparison. If you don't use the same form factor, i.e. mini-itx for both of them then what's the point? Unless if you want to disregard size and only compare performance/watt. However, since the whole point of the ATOM is to go 'smaller'... yeah, whatever.
  • nottheking
    I must say I'm a bit surprised at the results. It's good to see that perhaps there's more life (and use) left in Athlon64s than we'd previously thought, if they make ideal low-power CPUs. Likewise, it's a surprise to find a place where AMD trumps Intel in the performance-per-watt sector, which is always important; I can perhaps imagining chips like the 2000+ and Atom being used for low-maintenance servers and datacenters, where PPW has always outweighed raw performance, since it's infinitely easier to buy more chips than to upgrade the local power grid.

    Now, if only Intel would develop an Atom-specific chipset that didn't consume copious amounts of memory. If AMD can get low-end GPU power sufficient for high-def decoding (regardless of what the CPU is) in under a single watt, certainly Intel could make a chipset that can handle all that is done by the 945GC and its laughable GMA 950 in even less power, since we're talking a less-complex design that has considerably less graphics power on hand, as well as the fact that Intel has access to 45nm production right now, while AMD is still stuck with 55nm. If only the chipset for an Atom didn't have several times the thermal envelope of the CPU...