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Testbed and Methods

AMD Brazos platform with the Zacate processor is positioned for nettops and netbooks used not only for simple internet surfing and work in productivity applications, but also for work with multimedia content, including HD content. It means that Brazos falls into the same niche that is currently fully occupied by systems based on ION platforms including Intel Atom processors and Nvidia graphics. Therefore, we are going to compare Brazos against solutions based on ION and ION 2.

I would like to remind you that the currently existing ION modifications differ primarily by the processor: the first ION is based on Intel Atom with Diamondville core, while the second generation of the platform uses a newer processor codenamed Pineview. We got both these platforms represented by Mini-ITX mainboards, like our MSI E350IS-E45, for the tests.

The first ION platform will be represented by Zotac IONITX-D-U built around a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor and a chipset with Nvidia GeForce 9400 graphics core. The new-generation ION is represented by a truly unique Asus AT5IONT-I that uses the today’s fastest Intel Atom D525, Intel NM10 chipset and Nvidia GT218 graphics core with 16 shader processors and 535 MHz clock speed.

As a result, our testbeds were configured as follows:

  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS AT5IONT-I (Intel Atom D525 + Intel NM10 Express + NVIDIA GT218);
    • MSI E350IS-E45 (AMD E-350 + AMD Hudson M1);
    • Zotac IONITX-D-U (Intel Atom 330 + GeForce 9400).
  • Memory:
    • 2 x 2 GB DDR2-800 SDRAM DIMM (GEIL GX24GB8500C5UDC) 5-5-5-15;
    • 2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM DIMM (Kingston KHX1600C8D3K2/4GX) 9-9-9-27;
    • 2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM SODIMM (Apogee AS2G733-13G) 9-9-9-27;
  • Hard drive: Kingston SNVP325-S2/128GB.
  • Power supply unit: Tagan TG880-U33II (880 W).
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64.
  • Drivers:
    • ATI Catalyst 11.2 Display Driver;
    • Intel Chipset Driver 9.1.1.1025;
    • NVIDIA ION Chipset Driver 15.51;
    • NVIDIA GeForce/ION Driver 266.58.

I would also like to note that the nettop platforms we tested this time have dramatically different characteristics, despite their similar market positioning. To illustrate this statement we put together a comparative table showing the major distinguishing features of each platform tested today:

 
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