Results: Atom Is Not Suitable As An Office PC
It is quite clear that the 945GTC-D board from ECS with the Intel Atom 230 processor is not suitable for use as a desktop workstation. Although the integrated graphics core would be sufficient, the speed of the Atom 230 processor is just too slow for day-to-day desktop tasks.
Of course, not every user will agree. If you know the precise utilization of the system and you have enough experience to assess what level of computer performance is required, you may find that this system meets your needs perfectly. But this only applies to certain special types of use.
For example, it is possible to surf quite happily as long as the right operating system is used (Windows XP or Linux). If you run more than one application at a time, though, the Atom system will slow down.
The power consumption of the Atom board in both idle mode and under full load set new records in our Munich test lab. The minor advantage over other platforms is a bit disappointing, though. An AMD Sempron LE-1100 system only requires 3 watts more energy in idle mode. On the other hand, under full load, the Atom only jumps by a few watts, while the other desktop-tuned processors consume far more energy.
Anyone who tends to have a system that mainly sits idle will not notice a major difference between the energy consumption of the Atom and the Sempron LE-1100 system. This is, for example, the case when a computer is mainly used for downloads.
The desktop version of the chipset used is largely to blame for this. Since the Diamondville-based Atom system for the desktop is only currently available with an energy-hungry desktop chipset, much of the advantage of the very low energy consumption of the Atom 230 goes to waste. Maybe a motherboard manufacturer will take the plunge and build a Diamondville board based on a mobile chip set.
The dual memory interface doesn’t provide much performance advantage, either. The idea from Intel to integrate Hyper-Threading was absolutely right, as it allows the Atom to improve its performance in our tests by up to 37%. But the Atom has lower computing power compared to the current AMD and Intel platforms. We’d recommend checking out one of those before toying with an Atom-based desktop.