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Brazos AMD vs Intel Atom Mini-PC for HTPC Systems

HTPC, Home Theater Personal Computer: This acronym is often used by system manufacturers to identify their own solutions that want to combine the flexibility of use of a typical PC, reduced overall size, quiet operation and design that is suitable for use in a home. Use a PC instead of a traditional media player extends the flexibility of use of much of the content in the home, especially if they are unexpended through a screen with high resolution or why not, a video projector.

Play back the pictures from your last vacation with their children and watch the latest blockbuster on Blu Ray, listen to their favorite music in the lounge or access to its archive of media content.These are just some of the scenarios of use, sometimes every day, they can see the use of a PC, or better than a HTPC specially developed in their home. In order for the user experience is satisfactory it is necessary that the system chosen reflects some very important basic requirements:

  • consumption and noise: a PC placed in the home have to consume little, not so much as to contain the overall costs to minimize operating noise;
  • computing power: to limit the processing power is a viable strategy when you search the more moderate consumption can be a system. An ideal HTPC system must balance the best silent operation with the computing power is adequate to ensure a smooth operation, and the support of different media formats that can be performed;
  • design a system within a home environment, or living room, must be presented with a design that is very different than the normal desktop systems.

For several years now, Intel offers the market the Atom processor family, solutions for the architectural choices that are directed to those areas in which you want to use to balance file size and consumption. Atom The proposals have met success in many systems of the netbook appeared on the market, but have found kind of use in traditional HTPC systems. The real limit of these solutions is not so much related to the reduced processing power from CPU side, which is necessarily limited given the size requirement and consumption, as the video subsystem developed by Intel that is not suitable for use with multimedia applications.For this reason, alternative solutions have appeared on the market, with the architecture of NVIDIA ION to represent the most concrete and interesting proposal to increase the processing power of the atomic system within HTPC.

Combining Atom CPU subsystem video ION HTPC system builders have been able to get a good mix of consumption, size and speed performance, the latter adapted to areas of use such as multimedia playback of video streams. Intel has benefited in this area, a real market dominance for a long time, despite the reduced overall performance of the Atom CPU is not quite capable of competing with traditional processor architectures entry level up to several years ago. Moreover architectural choices for Intel Atom pursued with have been focused on minimizing consumption at the expense of pure speed.

amdfusion_logo.jpg (9560 bytes)AMD has only recently been able to respond to Intel’s Atom solution with the first generation of solutions belonging to the Fusion family, a name that identifies products that integrate AMD’s in-house component CPU and GPU. We refer to the solutions used in the Brazos platform, composed of the four versions of the APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) that combine family Bobcat CPU GPU Radeon HD 6000. These solutions are the first family of Fusion to be introduced on the market for smaller sized systems where reduced consumption is a priority item.

Over the next month AMD will expand the presence of APU Solutions Fusion presenting notes with the code name of Llano.In this case, the basic architecture will be maintained with integrated CPU and GPU in the same product, providing much higher performance levels than those of the proposed Brazos course with a destination that will be of use in traditional desktop and notebook systems.

We compared two systems, respectively based on AMD and Intel Atom Brazos + NVIDIA ION 2, developed by Zotac and the company of Hong Kong has long specialized in the development of video cards based on NVIDIA GPU but it has more than one year launched an interesting line of mini PCs based on Intel solutions and more recently AMD, wanting this to provide solutions that can match an interesting design with a good overall performance of multimedia applications in the home.


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