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Low-Power Gaming: AMD's E-350 Vs. Intel Atom D525 And Ion 2

Test Systems And Benchmarks

First, let’s talk about the games we’re testing: 15 games in total. Ten of them are contemporary, and the rest are older titles. We want to include some obsolete games that might not be cutting-edge anymore, but have a high replayability factor to offer someone whose system can’t handle the latest and greatest software. These titles represent a wide variety of genres: racing, flight, real-time strategy, role-playing games, and first-person shooters.

We compare the new Zotac Zbox AD03BR-PLUS to Jetway's Mini-TOP to judge how they perform in a number of gaming scenarios. Both machines are outfit with the same 5200 RPM 250 GB Samsung Spinpoint in order to keep hard drive performance out of the equation.

Both systems have 2 GB of RAM installed. While the Intel Atom D525/Nvidia Ion 2-equipped Mini-TOP uses older DDR2 RAM, it has the advantage of 512 MB of DDR3 exclusively dedicated to its graphics chipset, while the 2 GB of DDR3 in the AMD E-350/Radeon 6310-equipped Zbox has to share RAM between the system and graphics.

Here are the test-system particulars:

Jetway Mini-TOPZotac ZBOX AD03BR-PLUS
CPUIntel Atom D5251.8 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L3 CacheAMD E-3501.6 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2 Cache
NetworkingRealtek RTL8111DL Gigabit Network Adapter (LAN)Atheros 802.11 b/g/n PCIe card (WiFi)Realtek RTL8111DL Gigabit Network Adapter (LAN)Atheros AR9285 (WiFi)
MemoryHyundai PC2-64001 x 2048 MB, 332 MHz, CL 5-5-5-15-1T (single-channel)Samsung PC3-107001 x 2048 MB, 1066 MHz, CL 9-9-9-24-1T (single-channel)
GraphicsNvidia Ion 2 (Integrated)Radeon HD 6310 492 MHz (Integrated)
SoundAnalog:C-Media CM108AH HDMI:Nvidia LPCM digital audioAnalog & Optical:Realtek ALC888 HDMI:AMD High Definition Audio Device
Hard Drive250 GB SamsungSpinpoint 5400 250 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s250 GB Samsung Spinpoint 5400 250 GB, 5400 RPM, 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s
PowerChannel Well Tech KPA-060F 12 V, 5 A, External AC adapterDelta Electronics ADP-90CD 19 V, 4.74 A, External AC adapter
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Benchmark Configuration
StarCraft 2Version: 2.1.2.2105, Low Settings, Medium Textures,Tom's Hardware Guide Benchmark v2
H.A.W.X. 2DirectX 9, lowest Settings, in-game benchmark
F1 2010Version 1.1.1.129, DirectX 11, in-game benchmark Ultra-Low Detail Settings, 4x AA
BulletstormLowest Settings, Medium Textures, FRAPS benchmark tool
Aliens vs. PredatorVersion 1.0.0.0, Aliens vs. Predator DirectX 11 benchmark Default Settings, No AA, 16x AF
Left 4 Dead 2Lowest settings, model/texture level to medium, multicore rendering enabled
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Lowest Settings, Fraps benchmark tool
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, DirectX 10, Concrete Jungle Benchmark Lowest Details
Metro 2033Version 1.0.0.1, DirectX 11, benchmark tool, High Quality, Lowest Settings
Lord of the Rings Onlinelow settings, medium draw distance, medium animation smoothness, and distant impostors enabled.
Star Trek: Armada 2Highest Settings, Fraps benchmark tool
H.A.W.X.DirectX 9, lowest Settings, in-game benchmark
Burnout ParadiseLowest Settings, Fraps benchmark tool
Unreal Tournament 3Post processing: Vivid, texture detail 3, frame rate smoothing, dynamic lights, bloom and depth of field, distortion, tree leaves, and tree fronds enabledcharacter model level of detail: HighestEffects level of detail: 1/3, in-game benchmark
Fallout 3Low Settings, Fraps benchmark tool
  • tacoslave
    so the gpu's in modern consoles are around the same as the e-350? since these gpus are mainly cpu bound? Also should have put counterstrike fun and not demanding.
    Reply
  • Can they make a video game that features a Monopolistic Chip Company who threatens and bribes computer manufacturers to be zombies?
    Reply
  • ujaansona
    Aamusing... ;)
    Reply
  • ujaansona
    OOPS It's not "Aamusing"
    It's Pointless To Compare Them...
    Reply
  • warjunkieltu
    Why are you guys not testing some good quality freeware first person shooters, that could run smoothly on those low end PCs? For example:
    Urban Terror (my favorite one), Open Arena, Alien Arena? Or at least Quake live?
    Cause it's ridiculous to test all those latest shooters on such low end machines...
    Reply
  • silverblue
    I was just thinking about reinstalling either of the Star Trek: Armada titles now I've moved to Windows 7, just to see if it removes the stuttering I experienced in XP. Good to see one of those titles here.

    Good review; was kinda wishing for the HL2:LC or some previous-gen UT titles though. :)
    Reply
  • nevertell
    You could've tried overclocking them :D
    But seriously, the ION seems to be bottlenecked by the cpu.
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Low end graphics! How about testing them with popular MMOG for addicts that travel, but like the portability of netbooks!
    Reply
  • vaughn2k
    Diablo 2? and Warcraft 3?
    Reply
  • gondor
    Thank you for including older titles in your comparison ! I hope you'll be able to include even more of them in any future tests to give each major game engine of the era a fair chance :)
    Reply