mCubed HFX Micro S13 system: Atom 330, Silenced

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TEST RESULTS

The system shipped with German version of XP and a power brick with a European power plug. We started fresh with an English version of XP and used a North American AC power adapter.

Test Results: mCubed HFX Micro Business S12
Test State
Mean
CPU Use
Peak
CPU Use
System Power
Off
N/A
2W
Sleep/Standby
N/A
3W
Idle
N/A
25W
Dark Knight
(720p H264)
34%
56%
~30W
Rush Hour
(1080p H264)
65%
90%
~33W
Coral Reef
(1080p VC1)
29%
35%
~31W
Undead Battle
(720p x264)
39%
50%
~28W
Spaceship
(1080p x264)
47%
67%
~30W
Prime95
100%
33W
Prime95 +
ATITool
100%
39W
Grey boxes indicate test failure.

The HFX Micro is a fairly low power system running at only 25W idle, 28-33W during video playback, and 33W when the CPU is under full load. The GPU inefficiency is evident as the power draw increased by 6W when the GPU under load using ATITool. For such a weak IGP, it shouldn't be using more than 2-3W extra. We managed to get a bit higher power draw than the 33W maximum cited in mCubed's specs by loading the CPU and the GPU simultaneously.

Video playback was smooth except for our VC-1 Coral Reef clip. The audio clipped throughout this clip even though CPU usage was relatively low. The problem stemmed from the fact that only a single CPU thread was active during playback — something that has not occured on previous tests using AMD X2 and Intel Core platforms. We are unable to explain why this occurred.

Both 720p and 1080p x264 clips played without difficulty. Slower single core machines are notorious for not being able to handle 1080p x264 clips, even using CoreAVC, so we're happy to report that a dual core Atom system is sufficient for such files.

VS OTHER ATOM SYSTEMS

Its picoPSU allowed the HFX Micro to post power consumption readings similar to the single-core D945GCLF, as the Seasonic SS-300SFD power supply used to test the latter is slightly less efficient. Neither system can compare to the efficiency of the Eee Box even though it uses the same single core Atom in the D945GCLF. The difference is in the mobile chipset used in the Asus.

Comparisons with Other Atom Systems
Test State
HFX Micro
D945GCLF +
SS-300SFD
Asus Eee Box
Mean
CPU
System Power
Mean
CPU
System Power
Mean
CPU
System Power
Off
N/A
2W
N/A
1W
N/A
1W
Sleep
N/A
3W
N/A
2W
N/A
1W
Idle
N/A
25W
N/A
27W
N/A
16W
Dark Knight
(720p H264)
34%
~30W
62%
~31W
65%
22W
Rush Hour
(1080p H264)
65%
~33W
97%
~33W
98%
22W
Coral Reef
(1080p VC1)
29%
~31W
63%
~33W
65%
22W
Prime95
100%
33W
100%
31W
100%
22W
Prime95 +
ATITool
100%
39W
100%
38W
100%
25W
Grey boxes indicate test failure.

The extra CPU core of the D945GCLF2 gives it an advantage in high definition video playback. The board played both our 720p and 1080p H264 clips perfectly (the D945GCLF/Eee Box could only manage 720p). VC-1 playback was also a bit less problematic, though it still failed the test.

VS DELL STUDIO HYBRID

The 545 EURO price-tag (~$706 USD at today's exchange rate) puts it in league with the Dell Studio Hybrid configuration we reviewed recently. In this comparison, to say the price of silence is high would be an understatement. With only a dual core Atom processor and 1GB of RAM, the HFX Micro is twice as slow at some tasks compared to the Dell's 2GHz+ Core 2 Duo with more memory. AAC encoding using iTunes was dreadful, almost four times slower than the Dell Studio Hybrid. The only area in which the HFX Micro performed better was boot-up time, but this was most likely due to the fact it was running XP instead of Vista with a few pre-installed applications.

Benchmarks Comparison
System
mCubed HFX Micro
Dell Studio Hybrid
CPU / RAM
Atom 330 (dual core)
1.60GHz / 1GB
Core 2 Duo T5850
2.13GHz / 3GB
Boot-up Time
39 sec (XP)
59 sec (Vista)
PCMark05
2024
4176
3DMark05
256
953
3DMark06
N/A (would not run)
444
NOD32
691 sec
~30W
301 sec
~40W
WinRAR
684 sec
~30W
274 sec
~45W
iTunes
1219 sec
~28W
312 sec
~43W
TMPGEnc
906 sec
~30W
468 sec
~52W
*Boot-up Time - start button to when the desktop appears


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