Friday, June 20, 2008

Atomic Musings

Intel's Atom processor is currently the talk of the IT world but let's be honest here, it is not god's gift to the CPU world. It's low power but in many ways. Low power usage (great) but also low power in processing power terms (not so great). However, it's good for PCs that are designed for browsing the net and word processing type tasks, just don't expect to encode HD video on it!

Anyway, my interest is in low power consumption - for downloading and for browsing - for a PC to sit next to the lounge TV.

There are many Atom configurations being offered and they differ a lot in their "green credentials"

230 and 945GC/ICH7 $29+$20 (4W+25W) $49 29W TDP

N270 and 945GSE/ICH7-M $44+$36 (2.5W+5.5W) $80 8W TDP

Pity we don't have Poulbo (designation, US15W, a more efficient single chip "chipset" that includes HD decoding) in desktop form as it is very low power. There is also a planned dual core Atom (code 330 perhaps) due later this year. In the real world, Intel's mini-ITX motherboard, D945GCLF draws 24W-27W using an efficient DC-DC power supply, 1gb Ram and 2.5" HD, compared to Apple's Mac Mini (20W-54W) with a much more powerful 2.0ghz Core2Duo processor. For a green PC you'd have to be looking at the 945GSE/ICH7-M and N270 combo.

This happens to be the chipset Asus have in the Eee Box (the many times renamed Ebox) which is due in UK in July.

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