Mini PC kit (processor and motherboard)

PCGH Review: Intel Atom 330 (dual-core)

Intel wants to supply the market for small and light computers with their Atom processors. Since September the dual-sore version of the CPU is available.

 PCGH-Score: 1.81

Up to now Intel doesn't offer the Atom on its own, but only combined with a Mini ATX motherboard - which is only 17 to 17 centimeters small.
The components:
• Processor: Intel Atom 330 (1.6 GHz; 2 cores, HT, 1 MiB L2, FSB533, Hyper-Thr., 8 Watt TDP)
• Chipset: Intel 945GM; GBit-LAN; 8x USB 2.0; 2x SATA; 1x IDE
• Memory: 1 x DDR2 533/667, maximal 2 GiByte

The board with the Atom 330 is based on the 945 chipset and the ICH7 Southbridge. Compared to the single-core version D945GCLF the second generation of the platform now offers Gigabit-LAN, six channel sound and eight USB ports. An integrated GMA950 graphics unit is onboard. The memory is not included in the package and thus a single DDR2 module is required.

Atom 330: Performance
The Atom 330 has two cores and is clocked to 1.6 GHz. Intel optimized the processor on power efficiency - the caches are small. 64 Bit operating systems and modern features like out-of-order execution are not supported. Therefore the Atom 330 we tested only required eight watt for its two cores - this is a top result and a passive cooler is enough for the CPU. So much the worse is the cooler Intel used for the chipset: With 1.4 sone it's clearly audible. Another interesting feature is that the Atom 330 supports Hyper-threading and thus has four logic processors. Accordingly the Atom 330 reaches quite good results in Cinebench R10: 1,546 points, which is a little more than a Sempron 3400+ reaches. The energy consumption is just under 40 watt at full workload and at 37 watt in idle (full mini PC).

Atom 330: Conclusion
For about 70 Euros the D945GCLF2 with the Atom 330 is a perfect base for (home-) servers or modding projects. As expected it is not suitable for gaming though.
The motherboard Intel D945GCLF2 and the Atom 330 are available as a package only. (picture: Intel)
The motherboard Intel D945GCLF2 and the Atom 330 are available as a package only. (picture: Intel) [Source: view picture gallery]

Author: Albert, Gögelein (Sep 24, 2008)

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