Atom Benchmarked: 4W Of Performance

Thermal Power Loss

The Silverthorne Atom processors for notebooks and UMPC are fitted with the mobile version of the 945G chipset. The northbridge has an energy consumption of 4 watts and the ICH7M southbridge a consumption of 1.5 watts. Since the embedded board has the Diamondville version of the Atom, ECS has soldered the 945GC chipset. Technically speaking, there is no reason why the energy saving 945 chipset should not have been used ; this would have been the ideal solution, but then the board would have cost considerably more.

The desktop 945GC has a TDP of 22.2 W and the southbridge uses 3.3 W. Compared to the Atom 230 processor which has a TDP of 4 W and is supplied with a voltage of 1.088 V, this is a considerable difference.

The board is fitted with a one-phase regulator for the power supply to the processor. The ITX board with a Mobile Celeron 220 that we are comparing it with also has a single regulator unit. Due to the relative low price of the Atom ($29), it has no energy saving functions such as SpeedStep — it always clocks at the full 1.60 GHz. We measured the energy consumption of the overall system plus power supply — the Coolermaster PSU we used had an efficiency of over 80%.

In idle mode, the Atom 230 system was able to set a record for our lab at just 40 watts, but compared to AMD’s 780G platform with a Sempron LE-1100, its lead was only 3.4 watts — not exactly spectacular.

Under full load, the Atom 230 at 11 W is a considerable improvement over its predecessor, the ITX board with the Mobile Celeron 220.

  • Where's Linux tests?.
  • randomizer
    This saved me time researching for an assignment :)
  • jaragon13
    Shouldn't it be on 9 - cooling and temperatures,be idle and load,instead of idle and idle? >.
  • When you look at the power consumption on load and compare it to the slowness of the chip while performing on load, it becomes clear why it only uses 4 watts more...
  • A CPU without a platform is useless.
    Analyzing the Atom platform quickly from the power/performance perspective.
    CPU name / idle W / load W/ Lame (seconds) / total Lame W used
    Atom 230 / 40.5 W / 44.2 W / 773 s / 9.49 W
    Celeron 220 / 44.9 W / 55.4 W / 375 s / 5.77 W
    E2140 / 58.5 W / 69.5 W / 271 s / 5.23 W

    Clearly the Atom platform is the most inefficient power/performance wise.
    At idle you might win some W, but as soon as you try to do something you spend more power and waste more time.
    There are other things you should consider, the frustration of having to wait for things that now we are used to do near instant and the inability to play HD video or use any significant graphics.

    The only thing positive for atom is it's price. It's cheap. And maybe with a new chipset it might even be power efficient. But for now it's just cheap.

  • neiroatopelcc
    I wonder if it'd be able to play games if one were to equip it with a pci based 2400pro & 4gb of memory?
    Also, I wouldn't be surprised if someone invents a voltmod for those boards, so they can increase voltage for cpu, mch & ich enabling 2ghz+ speeds
  • nachowarrior
    so in other words atom is pretty much a failure unless it's pumped into a tablet or umpc? and even then apparently isn't cost effective or readily available, nice...sounds like a great product launch.
  • I ran a google search for ECS 945GCT-D mainboard, and could not find it.
    I don't get it, why do you publish tests with products that don't even exist on the vendor web site?

    Thank you, anyway
  • Lans
    Raiden, while your numbers are true, I think a fairer comparison would be to use 773s for all processors (meaning the rest go to idle alot quicker). I suppose you can power your computer down afterwards or start up a web browser etc.

    Atom 230 (773s load / 0s idle) : 9.5W
    Celeron 220 (375s load / 398s idle): 10.7W
    E2140 (271s load / 502s idle): 13.4W
    Sempron LE-1100 (43.9W idle, 70.4W load, 301s load / 472s idle): 11.6W

    Sure this is biased against the Atom (not going idle at all) but with 4W delta between load and idle, I am too lazy to change the numbers already used.

    I find it comparing the Atom to a Sempron LE-1100 more and Celeron 220 interesting:

    "A Celeron at 1.20 GHz is 35% faster than an Atom at 1.60 GHz, but the Atom only consumes a fraction of the energy used by the Celeron. The AMD Sempron system, which uses almost the same energy in idle mode as the Atom system, is 43% faster."
  • haley0918
    in anyway, despite of the low power and low performance, i still think it'll also be good as simple file server or home server besides as umpc. for experts, it'll be enough for some robotics and control application. just like the one used for Aiko in