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Athlon Vs. Atom: Duel Of The Energy Savers

Chipset Comparison: AMD vs. Intel

The processor from AMD runs on the 780G chipset. Compared to Intel’s 945G platform, it provides several extra features, and uses less energy.

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

Chipset Northbridge Intel 945GCAMD 780G
Energy Consumption22.2 Watts (TDP)11.4 Watts (TDP)
Dual ChannelYesYes
GraphicsGMA950Radeon HD3200
H.264NoYes
Vista AeroYesYes
PCIe x16NoYes
Dual MonitorNoYes
DVINoYes
HDMI + HDCPNoYes

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.

Platform Intel AtomAMD Athlon 64
Chipset SouthbridgeIntel ICH7AMD SB700
Energy Consumption3.3 Watt (TDP)X.XX Watt (TDP)
SATA26
IDE22
USB4x USB 2.012x USB 2.0 2x USB 1.1
PCIe x111
PCI12

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.

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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.