The GMA 950 graphics have a single VGA output so anyone with plans to connect a digital TFT is scuppered, and to add to the pain two of the four USB ports are so close to the VGA output that they are effectively useless.
There’s a header on the board that supports two case-mounted USB ports so you can save the day but it looks like someone at Intel was having a bad day when they came up with this design.
The Atom 230's CPU-Z read-out
The Realtek network connection is 10/100Mb/s instead of Gigabit, and the Realtek ALC662 audio is as rudimentary as you’ll find on a motherboard these days.
It’s worth repeating that your options for expansion are just about zero, so what you see is what you get.
Intel supports D945GCLF with a minimal selection of operating systems. According to the chip maker, you're limited to a choice of Windows XP, x64 XP and 32-bit Vista. That said, we're sure Linux fans could probably rustle up a suitable distro, thanks to Asus' work on the Eee PC.
Yes, it HyperThreads
We plumped for 32-bit Vista Ultimate and found that it ran well enough, but as you might expect a single-cored 1.6GHz processor has to work hard even if it does have HyperThreading and displays two cores in Task Manager. We saw that Vista kept the Atom churning away at 10-25 per cent usage simply running the desktop and as you’ll see from our benchmark tests the performance is truly pathetic.
Stick to XP, then, if Windows is your thing.
A word on wattage
Given how utterly patethic that review was and I can't even work up the entusiasm to flame it, here's a word on what was ignored:
I recently built one of these using a "noah" case with a DC-DC converter in it, a samsung 1TB drive (about 16W idle, 17W active) an old laptop CDRW drive and a 2GB stick of DDR2. Whilst copying a buttload (technical term) of stuff across the network to it, the CPU usage was sitting pretty at ~5% in XP-64 and the power usage (as measured by a maplin plug-into-the-wall meter) was 37 watts. The most I've ever managed to get this machine to consume was 51W on startup when the drive was first spun up. This quickly dropped back to 40 and idle is usually around the 35W mark.
As for the "dark ages" ports, all I can say is thank christ they're there, I work on embedded systems and it's great to have a machine with useful connectivity. When you need something to "just work" and it's playing lame, it's so much easier to debug over serial or parallel interfaces. Most embedded systems have a UART hidden away somewhere, even if it's only an internal header. USB->RS232 converters just don't work reliably enough.
Next time, let's have a review that doesn't compare melons to the krasnoyarsk tractor museum.
Interesting that the Intel D201GLY2 motherboard has very similar power consumption overall and a PCMark05 CPU rating about 50% higher.
I think Intel rushed to market
I am waiting for the MSI Atom board with no fans.
I am an opinionated shit... so here goes
Actually, when it comes to doing WORK - by this I mean typing in stuff and scanning in the odd document and all, that sure - HIGH PERFORMANCE PC's and the TIME IS MONEY factor, do actually count for a real lot.....
But for all the really mundane "shit" it's probably a really good thing..
CHEAP, LOW POWER, SMALL and can play the really dumb basic kind of games... like Donkey Kong...
The ONLY 2 reasons I EVER upgrade is because my CHEAP, LOW POWER PC's either die (in part/s) from old age, or they just cannot hack having to scroll (page up / down) through 350 page documents, without coughing up their arse in the process.
But I have been computing away quite happily, on the last of the good stuff, remaining on the shelf - after it came out 3 or 4 years ago...
And I hang onto it all for a verrrrrrrrry long time.
So as to why I need to be buying the truck type PC's with the equivalent in power consumption, space taking, and running costs, the tripple bypass CPU's, the $900 graphics cards, the liquid cooling and screaming fans is beyond me.
CHEAP is good, and SUFFICIENT is enough.
Our call center is buying exactly one of these
We're getting one into our Indian (Pune) call center in order to give our applications atomic testing.
If it works then we'll roll out a few hundred systems with lower power chipsets and hopefully a smaller form factor, such as system in monitor.
It's not just the power for the systems themselves, we also have to worry about running the air conditioners to clean up that power wastage afterwards, because of course all call centers must be located in tropical countries with poor electrical grids rather than say Iceland or Norway.