Atom vs Atom vs Atom: tiny motherboards compared

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Ewan Wilcocks points us to his roundup of five Intel Atom-based motherboards. The verdict: Mini-ITX, the classic mini motherboard form factor, has a bright future. But if you need HD video playback, get Intel’s own implementation, which has the spectacularly unpleasant name “D945GCLF2.”

In our multiple Atom board review, we cover the original Intel D945GCLF motherboard, Gigabyte’s GA-GC230D, Jetway’s JNC91, an board from MSI due to be released in the next few weeks, and Intel’s Dual Core Atom 330 powered D945GCLF2 – released today (or thereabouts). Very brief summary: the D945GCLF2 can playback 720p quite happily. The single core boards nearly can.

I just love to look at them stacked up like that. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Mini-ITX cluster supercomputer made of these, stacked 40-high in a perspex-encased column?

Review [Mini-ITX]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Atom vs Atom vs Atom: tiny motherboards compared

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    Anon,

    The big unseen market for all these little boards is cash registers and industrial robots and what-have-you: heavily legacy-intensive stuff.

  2. OM says:

    “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Mini-ITX cluster supercomputer made of these, stacked 40-high in a perspex-encased column? “

    …Back in the days when I was part of the beta program for seti@home, I would have given someone left nut for a stack of about 40 of these for crunching packets. As it was, I had to use a *WALL* of a hundred Dell “Killington” floppyless “netPCs” in a test lab to do the crunching. Managed to get off about 60 packets a day on 300MHz Celeron procs, which has me wondering what a single DC Atom would crunch in the same time period.

  3. jbrandt says:

    Here’s your cluster:

    Only 12 nodes, but it’s a start.

    Or there’s the archive.org petabox, made of mini-itx boards.

  4. Rob Beschizza says:

    Now imagine it with Ambilight.

  5. aTanguay says:

    Plus, with a *special* install of OSX…cough Kalyway cough…you can make yourself a snappy little Mac Mini for around $200. I did it and it’s wonderful.

  6. dculberson says:

    I love it! I wonder how much the Intel Alphabet Soup will cost…

    Anon#4, No way! The PS/2, parallel, and serial ports are still incredible useful at times, and in my experience take basically no system resources. Plus you can typically turn the par/ser off in BIOS if you’re really picky.

    My last laptop didn’t have a parallel or serial port, and I spent more time than I’d like working around that trying to program a couple security systems, till I finally broke down and bought a PCMCIA serial card. (USB to serial converters are like most cheap USB stuff: not that reliable and not that well supported driver-wise.)

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s crazy that so many PC manufacturers still stick with PS/2 and parallel printer ports, especially on laptops and mini-boards. Make the leap to the 21st century!

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