Athlon Vs. Atom: Duel Of The Energy Savers

System Power Consumption

Under idling conditions, the AMD system consumes 1.7 watts less than the Atom-embedded board from Intel. At only 38.8 watts, the Athlon 64 2000+ system breaks a new record for desktop systems in our lab.

Under full load conditions, the AMD processor remains a step ahead. With 2.3 watts less energy consumption, the Athlon 64 2000+ system beats Intel’s Atom-based board. At 41.9 watts under full load conditions, AMD also sets a new record in our lab.

When measuring the energy consumption of the entire system, AMD’s 8 watt processor performs better than Intel’s 4 watt processor, due to the lower power consumption of the chip set.

Test Platforms for Energy Consumption Measurements

Test Platforms
Processor Platform
Athlon Sempron AMD 780G Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H
Pentium Dual Core Intel G33 Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R
Celeron SIS 662 Intel D201GLY2
Atom Intel 945G ECS 945GCT-D
Hard Drive Western Digital 3200AAJS 320GB, 7200 RPM, SATA300

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  • goozaymunanos
    yay, good for amd..

    now if they can get a tiny mobo out and sort out those other issues, they mght be able to make the lead even greater.

    good for amd!

    p.s. stuff and nonsense:
  • bobwya
    Nice article... But where are the CPU usage charts of HD and DVD playback on the Atom...?? :lol:

    There surely would a case for the MB BIOS to support a dynamic overclock just to pull the Athlon 2000+ into the bottom range for HD playback??

  • Anonymous
    Because these processors aren't aimed at performance junkies. The big space right now is enterprise users looking for low power consumption for thin clients and data warehouses, where temperature and energy consumption are limiting factors over the speed at which bankers can play quake.
  • Anonymous
    think netbooks (eeepc/acer one/msi wind)
  • Chris--S
    Jetway has announced a mini-ITX format mobo using the 780G, its code NC81 LF - see
  • uk_gangsta
    this article is uber pwnage
  • Scooby2
    unruledthink netbooks (eeepc/acer one/msi wind)

    exactly !

    Fit that desktop setup inside a netbook case then I will be impressed.
  • Scooby2
    Ps. Not a comment against the Athlon, but come on apples to something in the fruit family would be good. I'm sure my Core2 would be very power efficient at ~600mhz.
  • kickme21
    Were is the power readings for the system taken from?? Before of after the PSU.
  • Anonymous
    This needs to be used in a netbook.

    Raon apparently have a 7" umpc/netbook using the old 690G chipset:

    i personally think they missed the boat because they should absolutely be using the 780G chipset.
  • Anonymous
    MSI had a small board too so you could compared the 2 of them on the same board size:
  • Anonymous
    Intel deliberately cripples the capabilities of Atom motherboards to make sure Atom doesn't sabotage sales of Celeron CPUs. If I remember correctly, the following limits are imposed on Atom motherboard makers:

    No PCIe graphics slot allowed
    Only 1 Ram slot allowed
    No more than 2 SATA Ports allowed
    No Gigabit Lan allowed
    Only 1 PCI slot allowed.

    I own an Intel Atom board, which I use as a Network file server and bittorrent downloading machine. It draws about 40 watts.
  • Anonymous
    Tell me please the secret, how are you guys doing so nice screenshots of the BIOS? That is definitely not a photo, nor an analog grab over some output, but I'm not aware of a way to grab such nice picture over digital-something (DVI, HDMI ... ?).
  • cseufert
    Well... J&W actually already have a miniITX motherboard with 780G Chipset, should be more comparable to the atom platform tested.
  • Anonymous
    Dual monitors? Blu Ray? Vista?....who buys Atom or Athlon? There's three things that will drive this low power market, price, price and price. The ability to produce low cost, reasonable performance and small form factor desktop and mobile PC systems is where the game is, not how fast you can rip this or render that. Sadly, most poeple miss the point of this - you want performance, spend the money to get it, if you want a low cost PC that can do email and internet, and in netbooks case, give extraordinary battery life, be prepared to sacrifice performance to get a basic PC. Low cost and energy efficiency is the new mantra for new markets all over the world today.
  • Anonymous
    I don't understand...
    I can play DVD with a pentium II. How can CPU consumption went so high with an Athlon 64@1G?

    Also, for bluray, in my Athlon X2 @2.5G it hardly passes 10%(with hardware acceleration of course.) multiply it by 5 should be an overestimate of the usage, yet it only gives you 50%...

    Are you sure it's not an OS problem?
  • amgsoft
    Thanks for the review. I'am have been playing with low power systems since 2003, build my own server based on Geode G1 and PC/104 system 300 MHz, running as web/email server for years with Suse linux and X server. It consumes 8W in power and was running 24/7 withou any problems. Imagine, that it can be done. No need for 4 cores 1000 GHz and 2000 GB RAM and noisy fan!

    Recently I replaced it with 1 GHz VIA C7/ 1GB RAM, 10W, (lex neo system)which is running OpenSuse 10.3. It is not a high performance system, however it runs very smoothly.

    Do you consider to compare this kind of low power system with the Atom and Athlon systems? I'am suprised, that the power consumption of the described systems is so high compared to their efficiency.
  • Anonymous
    That 0.95W figure for the 780G power consumption is for Idle power, not TDP surely...?
  • Anonymous
    But where can you buy these low power AMD chips?
    I don't see anyone selling them.
    I see lots of Atom boards with chips.
    An interesting article but practically not very useful until someone starts shipping the chips
  • bot397
    Great subsitute for thin clients because it's not dependent on a server. Could office work all day long on an Athlon 64 2000 rig with and 780G mobo. Great machine for anyone only doing office and internet.AMD please get an OEM to sell machines with a combination of very low power consumption like that.