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 Post subject: socket P barebone vs AMD 780G vs 17" notebook
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:08 am
Posts: 46
Location: The Netherlands
I was thinking about possible configurations for a PC with a low power consumption, which does not compromise performance (which means no Intel Atom-based system). I have three configurations in mind. Besides low power consumption, size of the system, price and of course noise levels are also important criteria. Prices are taken from a popular Dutch price comparison website.

Option 1: Socket P barebone = € 560

To my surprise I haven't been able to find more than two barebone systems which have a socket P motherboard. They are the AOpen miniPC Duo and the Transtec Senyo 610. I don't think that the Senyo 610 is a good deal, because you can build a more powerful sytem based on the AOpen miniPC Duo MP965-D for € 560. That would include an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100, 2 x 1 GB PC2-5300 RAM (SO-DIMM) and a Hitachi Travelstar 5K250 250 GB hard disk. Unlike AOpen though, Transtec mentions some figures on their website for power consumption, 25W in idle and 35W under load (although those figures are for the standard configuration, not the more expensive configuration with the T8100 I have my eyes on). The Transtec Senyo 610 has a 65W power supply, the AOpen miniPC Duo has a 90W power supply. And soon we should see the release of Intel Montevina platform hardware, which is accompanied by the Core 2 Duo P8400, which has a 25W TDP instead of it's similarly priced predecessor – the Core 2 Duo T8100 – with it's 35W TDP. So in the near future hardware should be available for socket P barebones which should feature even less power consumption.

Option 2: mATX AMD 780G-based system with 45W TDP AMD CPU = € 255

This configuration consists of an Antec NSK3480 enclosure, a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H mATX motherboard with the 780G chipset, an AMD Athlon X2 4850e CPU with 45W TDP, 2 x 1 GB PC2-5300 and a 320 GB Samsung SpinPoint F1 hard disk. This configuration is certainly the cheapest, but it's power consumption would be a lot higher, according to SPCR's test the system would consume 36W at idle, and somewhere between 60W – 100W at load. That's a lot higher than the socket P barebones, even though my guess is that it wouldn't really be noticeable on the electricity bill.

Option 3: HP Compaq 6820s notebook = € 630

According to the specifications this notebook has a 17 inch monitor, so it could serve as a desktop replacement. It also has the same Core 2 Duo T8100, and unlike the barebones I mentioned it comes with WiFi and Bluetooth included. Being a notebook, of course it also comes included with a monitor, keyboard, speakers and everything else which makes it a complete system. This notebook also has a 90W external power supply, so power consumption should probably be identical to the barebones. I'm not sure if it's an advantage that it comes with everything included, I think I'd prefer a separate 20 inch monitor and a separate mouse and keyboard. However, when I compare the price of this notebook with the barebones which have nearly identical hardware, it seems like the barebone manufacturers are overcharging incredibly. Probably this notebook would be the best compromise between power consumption, price and size.



The bottom line is that the the notebook seems like the most attractive choice, but a mini PC barebone with socket P could be a better choice because it allows you to choose the CPU, RAM and hard disk, and because it is more suitable if you prefer to connect it to a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse.

My question is, does anyone know why there seem to be so few socket P barebones or motherboards available? And why are they so ridiculously expensive compared to notebooks or hardware which doesn't work with mobile CPU's?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:48 am
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Location: Cardiff, UK
If you already have an external monitor, plug it into the laptop for ultimate realestate 8)


Alternatively, get a used laptop and transplant the components into a custom case...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:08 am
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Location: The Netherlands
That would be possible, but it would be duplication and a waste of space because the notebook would already have it's own integrated monitor. The other option you mention, scavenging notebooks for parts, could be interesting, but do you mean a self-built case with a custom case?

Besides that, Dell released their mini PC, the Studio Hybrid. It seems their mini PC is also more expensive than their own 17 inch notebooks. In the USA the cheapest model costs $499, but in The Netherlands the cheapest model costs € 749. Quite a huge difference, even if the price in the USA doesn't include VAT (AFAIK). Meanwhile, the cheapest Inspiron 1720 notebook costs € 769 in The Netherlands and has better specs than the cheapest Studio Hybrid. Quite ridiculous, there seems to be no reason to buy a Studio Hybrid instead of the Inspiron 1720.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:41 am 
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 12:15 am
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Location: ireland
I've been waiting and waiting a long time for Socket P, and as you say there's little to choose from, and that's probably the main reason that the prices remain high. Amazingly, I saw a PC Pro review of the VeryPC Parkwood, running a T9300 in MoTD form. The reviewer gave it minus points for putting such a big case around a mobile processor. Was he mad!! People just don't get that whole point of MoTD is to a) have a super low power pc b) have decent performance and c) have the same upgradability as a standard desktop. For that you need space in the box. Not only does it help with upgrading but allows the heat to dissipate and reduces the fan requirement to a minimum.

If you opt for the cheaper laptop as a main pc, you can bet that in a years time you'll have all kinds of stuff sticking out the side and the back. The benefit of Socket P in a proper case would be in the longer term viability and upgradability. I know as I come from the "Pentium M in a desktop case" which was the only low power MoDT available not so long ago. Still does me fine but I would love a dual-core version with an even lower power draw, like the T9600 or the P9500.

I think the market is at least talking note, and perhaps there will be cheaper offerings now that even the likes of Dell are looking at this segment. I've seen somewhere that Dell are planning to upgrade their Hybrid with the new Intel processors in time.


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