Zotac IONITX-A: An ION / dual-core Atom Mini-ITX Board

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TEST METHODOLOGY

Test Setup:


The IONITX utilizes the Intel Atom N330 processor, the dual core version of the 1.6GHz N270.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

  • CPU-Z to monitor CPU frequency and voltage.
  • Prime95 processor stress software.
  • FurMark stability test to stress the integrated GPU.
  • Cyberlink PowerDVD to play H.264/VC-1/Blu-ray video.
  • SpeedFan to monitor temperature and fan speeds.
  • 3DMark05 as a 3D benchmark.
  • 3DMark06 as a 3D benchmark.
  • Seasonic Power Angel AC power meter, used to measure the power consumption of the system.
  • Custom-built, four-channel variable DC power supply, used to regulate the CPU fan speed.

Our main test procedure is designed to determine the overall system power consumption at various states (measured using a Seasonic Power Angel). To stress Intel Atom and Core 2 CPUs we use Prime95 (large FFTs setting) to maximize heat and power consumption. For AMD X2 and Phenom CPUs we use CPUBurn K7 as it seems to tax AMD processors more. To stress the IGP, we use FurMark, an OpenGL benchmarking and stability testing utility.

We also test platform's proficiency at playing back high definition videos. Standard Blu-ray movies can be encoded in three different codecs by design: MPEG-2, H.264/AVC and VC-1. MPEG-2 has been around for a number of years and is not demanding on modern system resources. H.264 and VC-1 encoded videos on the other hand, due to the amount of complexity in their compression schemes, are extremely stressful and will not play smoothly (or at all) on slower PCs, especially with antiquated video subsystems.

Our main video test suite features a variety of 1080p H.264/VC-1 encoded clips. The clips are played with PowerDVD and a CPU usage graph is created by the Windows Task Manger for analysis to determine the approximate mean CPU usage. High CPU usage is indicative of poor video decoding ability on the part of the integrated graphics subsystem. If the video (and/or audio) skips or freezes, we conclude the board's IGP (in conjunction with the processor) is adequate to decompress the clip properly.

Cool'n'Quiet was enabled (unless otherwise noted). The following features/services were disabled during testing to prevent spikes in CPU/HDD usage that are typical of fresh Vista installations:

  • Windows Sidebar
  • Indexing
  • Superfetch

Video Test Suite


1080p | 24fps | ~10mbps
H.264: Rush Hour 3 Trailer 2c is a H.264 encoded clip inside an Apple Quicktime container.


1080p | 24fps | ~8mbps
WMV-HD: Coral Reef Adventure Trailer is encoded in VC-1 using the WMV3 codec commonly recognized by the "WMV-HD" moniker.


1080p | 24fps | ~19mbps
VC-1: Drag Race is a recording of a scene from network television re-encoded with TMPGEnc using the WVC1 codec, a more demanding VC-1 codec.


1080p | 24fps | ~33mbps
Blu-ray: Disturbia is a short section of the Blu-ray version of Disturbia, the motion picture, played directly off a Blu-ray disc. It is encoded with H.264/AVC.



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