Power, Temperature, And Noise Benchmarks
With a well-defined idea how each of these nettops performs, it's also important to consider power use and noise. Especially when it comes to enclosures without much airflow, cooling is a particular challenge that we need to evaluate.
We've finally found something that the ASRock CoreHT 252B struggles with in comparison to the other three competitors. The results are expected given a desktop-class processor. However, all of the machine's components still use less than 60 W with a full GPU and CPU load applied, so that power number hardly seems extreme.
The rest of these systems just sip power. It’s interesting that Arctic’s Atom D525/Mobility Radeon HD 5450 combo is more power hungry than the E-350- and Core i3-430UM-based machines.
The temperatures are so close that the differences are barely worth mentioning. Arctic's MC001-BD does exceptionally well when you consider that it’s passively cooled.
Although Arctic is the shoo-in given its passive cooling system, the other models hardly generate enough noise to notice. We wouldn’t mind having any of these systems in close proximity on our desks.
They are small form factor PCs or home theatre PCs, but they are not nettops.
btw: Mac mini should be in this lineup.
Mac Mini should be in this lineup? Actually, a good idea. I'd love to see how it compares to similar Wintel boxes.
I'm through with these small boxes because they're a pain in the a$$ to service and the hardware isn't good for the price ($800?! gimme a break!), but I see value in them for people who are ready to pay more for the small size.
If I would build a small form-factor box myself, I'd use something like this new Lian Li case which was in Tom's news recently - it can fit proper PCI/PCI-E cards.
Again, lovely article. Keep it up.
P.S. The ASRock box is great.