The results of our Mini-ITX platforms performance tests showed that we can’t claim equality between Intel DG45FC and Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi. These platforms are based on different integrated chipsets that is why they behave differently in applications creating different types of workload. Looks like the only possible application field where Intel and Zotac mainboards performed similarly was video playback. Both solutions did equally well there.
Nevertheless, we can’t regard the obtained results as totally comprehensive. Many users who decide to go with a compact system worry not only about performance but also about power consumption. This factor not only affects the amount of your electrical bill, but also is directly connected with the heat dissipation levels and the possibility to use small system cases equipped with quiet cooling systems. Therefore, we couldn’t leave out the power consumption tests performed under different types of workload. The table below offers power consumption readings for complete platforms without the monitor based on different Mini-ITX mainboards and configured as described above.
The actual benchmark results show that the system built around GeForce 9300 based mainboard is about 6-8% more economical under typical (non-peak) load. It is an absolutely logical result, because the single-chip Nvidia chipset offers better calculated maximum heat dissipation than Intel G45 Express. The manufacturer claims GeForce 9300 TDP to be at 22W, while G45 combined with ICH10 South Bridge has a total TDP of 28W.
This difference in power consumption and heat dissipation between the chipsets used in Intel DG45FC and Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX WiFi is also projected onto thermal mode. While the chipset heatsink on Zotac solution remains slightly warm throughout the entire test session, the heatsink on Intel platform can burn your fingers. Moreover, Intel DG45FC hardware monitoring system reports up to 90-100°C temperature on the chipset North Bridge.
At the same time I would like to stress that any Mini-ITX platforms with integrated graphics will be quite energy-efficient: even under maximum workload their power consumption will be described with two-digital numbers. If we compare the obtained results with the power consumption readings for fully-functional systems, we will see that the graphics card is the most energy-consuming part. By replacing the add-on graphics accelerator with an integrated solution you can make the practical power consumption of your platforms several times lower.