Atom 330

The Atom 330 is a Low power Dual Core/hyperthreading architecture destined for the Mini-ITX market.

This market would be:

People not wanting a super speedy machine and want to save power.

People wanting a low power NAS.

My plan is to investigate the possibly of replacing it with my main TV Recording box and see how well it churns through SD TV.

The machine itself is extremely small, being an Aywun MW-100 coming in at 70x185x245mm. It also comes with a 60W power supply. One thing interesting to note is that this machine at idle just reaches 30 Watts when running Windows Vista. Compare this to my current machine which at idle runs at 170 Watts and over 200 Watts when I’m using it.

The mainboard comes equipped with integrated graphics, 5.1 Channel support, SATA II support, 6xUSB 2 Ports and 1xPCI slot.

The machine quite easily records TV Shows from a USB Tuner, creaping up to 40 Watts in the process. Although it can play SD TV, getting it to do anything above this will cause stuttering etc… But playing off the machine (over a windows/samba share) is not a problem.

It’s been great to have this little machine to play with and I’ve ended up getting three to do various tasks.

Firstly I installed Windows Vista 32Bit (Home Premium) on this machine. It ran well but only had 1GB of DDR2 installed.

Testing how much power this uses was quite interesting, with Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit installed, it ran at 30 Watts Idle (40 Watts Load) which is quite good considering my main machine runs at about 170 Watts idle. This is a lot better than anything else I’ve got and is in fact less power than my Phillips 19″ alone draws (that runs at just over 40 Watts).

My conclusion with using this machine for a few days is that it is excellent for the purpose for which I bought it, web browsing and TV Recording and I’m very happy with it. It’s no graphics machine by any stretch of the imagination but does excel at everything else, with it’s small form factor a big plus for me. The machine has been as stable as a rock and a pleasure to work with. If you want a little machine that uses very little power to play with, then I recommend one of these.

If you want a graphics machine, there is now something called the ION which is also very low power but also allows you to play some games as well at reasonable speed.

Just search for Atom 330, on Staticice.