VIA Artigo: A Pico-ITX System

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Performance Benchmarks

Benchmarking the Artigo proved rather difficult. Dialogue boxes popped up when we ran PCMark05, 3DMark05, and 3DMark05, warning that accurate scores would not be generated due to the system's inability to run most of the tests. The hardware did manage to successfully run 3DMark2001 however.

Benchmarks Comparison
CPU
VIA Artigo
VIA C7 1.00GHz
Asus Eee PC 1000H
Atom N270 1.60GHz
Boot-up Time
51 sec
31 sec
3DMark2001
858
2826
NOD32
25:28
~20W
15:28
~16W
WinRAR
17:41
~19W
11:22
~17W
*Boot-up Time - start button to when the desktop appears

The Artigo fell flat in terms of performance compared to the 10" Eee PC. Boot-up took 20 seconds longer than the Eee, the anti-virus test was 65% slower, and archiving files with WinRAR took 56% longer. The Eee not only completed these two real-world benchmarks in significantly less time, but also used less power in doing so. The Artigo scored a pitiful 858 in 3DMark2001, our only synthetic benchmark.

The system did seem to lag noticeably more than Atom-based systems. During playback of a simple XviD encoded AVI, CPU utilization was 50% (compared to about 25% on the Eee 1000H). It played smoothly until our anti-virus program, NOD32, began downloading an update, causing the video to start dropping frames. It has been years since we've seen a simple background task like that have such an effect on something as trivial as XviD playback.

Noise

The board's single 40mm fan was exceedingly loud by SPCR standards. It measured 29 dBA@1m and 34 dBA@0.5m — the fan speed and noise level did not change depending on load. The fan had poor undertones, chattering as if an object was obstructing the blades, though this was not the case. There was no fan control in the BIOS and SpeedFan was not supported. When cover was removed and the fan unplugged, the heatsink quickly became very hot to the touch, even with the system in idle. It is doubtful the system can operate properly without a fan.

Adjusting the fan speed would also be a tricky task due to the lack of space, with an in-line resistor or zener diode being the best options if preserving the elegance of the case is a priority. Determining whether the system is adequately cooled however, would be difficult. There were no temperature read-outs in the BIOS and support for hardware monitoring software was lacking.

Comparison: SPL at 1m
System
Idle
Load
Eee PC 1000H
14 dBA
17 dBA
Eee Box B202
18 dBA
20 dBA
Dell Studio Hybrid
21 dBA
31 dBA
VIA Artigo
29 dBA
29 dBA

Compared to the Eee PC 1000H and small form factor systems like the Dell Studio Hybrid and Eee Box, the Artigo was easily the loudest. At full load the Studio Hybrid registered a higher noise level, yet sounded relatively more pleasant, with a smoother, more consistent acoustic profile. The Asus Eee models were whisper-quiet in comparison, staying at or below 20 dBA@1m.



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