Archive for April, 2009

Intel Atom (D945GCLF) test

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I’d wanted to replace some old and power-hungry boxes at home, and been looking to get an Atom to get on with, so finally I decided to buy one for testing and burn-in – 17k HUF with VAT, OEM packaging. Burn-in means a lot of tests regarding CPU power, disk controller, VGA, and overall feeling (does it run my Word faster?), let’s see how the Atom performs…

First of all, some geekporn:

dmesg
lspci
dmidecode output

Some CPU tests had to be run to decide if it fails miserably on out of office space tasks or not…

OpenSSL speed test
Try to compare this with your homegrown desktop.

HyperThreading can also be enabled, I’ve checked if it makes a substantial difference, and got surprised. Blender3D is a nice benchmark tool, and this guy created a useful wireframe which takes a lot of time to render, and the app is able to squeeze everything out of the CPU, with being able to set the number of threads.

test.blend rendering with HT disabled: 00:12:50 minutes
test.blend rendering with HT enabled: 00:08:06 minutes

Looks good. Some MySQL tests are also in the queue, because rumours have said that HT makes it worse for this database server…

As one target to be replaced is a Windows desktop, I’ve also installed this OS and checked if it can do some nice video play. Here is the comparison, no frame-per-sec, no no, just looking at the shown picture. Please note that all these tests were conducted with HT enabled, and where appropriate, CoreAVC codec 1.9.5.

– standard XviD *ahem* relese – no fuzz, plays smoothly
– DVD play – no fuzz, plays smoothly
– WMV 720p – plays smoothly, A/V in sync
– WMV 1080i – ugly framedrops, but A/V is in sync
– MKV 720p – no framedrops, but A/V is NOT in sync

I don’t recall if CoreAVC supports multithreading, but if it does, one may get on better with the D945GCLF2 which sports the dualcore version of the Atom.

On the overall feeling it was quite fast compared to my expectations. Booted Windows nicely, updates and other installs went quick, websites rendered quickly in IE6 and FF3, flash games were playable. Not bad from a 4W-consuming animal. (Take into account that the northbridge consumes 22W which is ridiculous, but the US15 northbridge or whatever Intel calls it is already out, consuming on par with the CPU.)

I’d hope it’d look nicer on the electricity bill compared to an old Northwood P4… 🙂