Intel D510M0 Motherboard: Atom 2.0

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FINAL THOUGHTS

The new Atom D510 performs slightly better than the Atom 330, but this is probably due to the increase in bus and clock speed more than anything else. Those hoping for a significant speed bump that would perhaps take Atom closer to the level of Intel's CULV chips will be sorely disappointed — it's pretty much more of the same. The new GMA 3150 doesn't seem to support video hardware acceleration, and though it performs better in 3DMark than GMA 950, when a tortoise races a snail, there are no winners — certainly not the spectators.

Pineview clearly improves on what made Atom popular in the first place: Energy efficiency. The D510M0 uses a lot less power than the D945GCLF2 — about 25% on average. Boosting efficiency by that degree when the power draw is already low is very impressive. If this is the kind of difference we will see on the mobile platform, it could translate to a sizable bump in run time, akin to adding a two or three cells to a netbook battery. On the desktop it won't make a big impact on an electric bill, but the lower power does make it easier to cool. The large passive heatsink on the D510M0 is a welcome change from the small heatsinks with tiny, whiny fans on Intel's previous desktop Atom boards.

Like the D945GCLF2, the D510M0 is a solid base for a simple, affordable system, only much quieter and more energy efficient. It isn't a fundamentally different product; there is nothing it can do that the previous iteration could not. We wish they had integrated an IGP with H.264 acceleration onto the die with the processor. A desktop version of GMA 500, found in their low power mobile Poulsbo chipset which is on various netbooks powered by the Atom Z series would have been perfect. However, we would have been happy if they had simply added HDMI as the D510 can play most high definition videos formats on its own without GPU assistance. That would allow it to function as a half decent media extender and a possible low-cost alternative to the ION. This may still come; our sample is really just a teaser of things to come. No doubt, the new Atom D510 and NM10 Express chipset will spawn a new generation ultra-SFF low power systems.

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