Performance – Applications [Real World]
AutoGK is our choice for transcoding testing. It is a compilation of commonly used tools for transcoding combined into an easy to use application. At its core is virtual dub for the actual transcoding but it provides much more than that. AutoGK is a good test of a system as it stresses the system drives, memory and the CPU. Although it is not fully Multi-Core compliant it does stagger the rendering load across multiple cores in turn. In our testing we take a 2 hour movie and transcode it to DivX Avi at 100% quality.
The results from our transcoding tests show that while the D510 is faster than the Atom 330 at stock speeds once you really kick the memory into high gear [at around 1333MHz] you gain much of that performance back. Of course your overclocking results will vary but it is very interesting to see the potential hidden under the hood.
Performance - Gaming
3D Mark Vantage is a DirectX 10 benchmark suite from Futuremark. This suite of tests allows you to get a broad overview of how well your system can handle the basic tasks of today’s gaming. Included in the test are Physics [using the PhysX libraries for GPU and CPU] DX10 Shader tests DX9 Shader tests as well as AI computations. Now since the majority of this is not dynamic it cannot hope to provide a completely accurate picture of gaming performance but it does a very good job despite that limitation. 3D Mark is also used a "bragging rights" test. The person with the best number wins; we are not sure what they really win, but we are assured they do actually win.
The 3DMark Vantage results are interesting. They are really not much over other GPUs in this range even with the minor boost from PhysX. It gives us an indication that while you probably could do some low end to mid-range gaming you are not looking at a power house here.
Gaming is a very real-world test. We do not use benchmarking scripts but actually play the games though a pre-planned level and record the frame rates using FRAPS. This allows up to see exactly how the CPU benefits [or hinders] performance. We have moved to a new format and will now be bringing you a game of each of the three common Direct X Levels. This should give a broader idea of CPU performance across multiple gaming APIs.
Spore from EA was one of the most pirated games of 2008. It achieved this status because of a now infamous DRM scheme that locked out paying consumers from playing the game after 2-3 installs of the software. The problem was that many consumers got locked out on the first run. But all that aside, the game was a very fun one that put you into a burgeoning world as a new creature. You had to find food to grow and survive. At stages in the game you were able to evolve into a more capable creature after acquiring more DNA and finding new traits to build your new life form with.
Not surprisingly the ION GPU does pretty well under the stress of gaming. Looks like Spore or any game like it would not be a problem.
Portal is a game based on Valve’s Game Engine and also set in another part of the same world occupied by Gordon Freeman and Black Mesa. In this game you play a test subject that has been woken from a sleep chamber to run a series of tests. During this you are shepherded by GLaDOS [Genetic Life Disk Operating System] and often encouraged to perform better so you can get your reward [a slice of cake]. It does not take long for you to realize that GLaDOS might not be your friend and that things have gone horribly wrong at Aperture Science Labs [a competitor for Black Mesa]. Portal is a great game that requires strategy, timing and a dark sense of humor.
Portal is a new game on the table here. We decided that we would see if the lower powered GPUs were able to handle games from a couple of generations back. These are still excellent games in many cases and could be perfect for some of the systems that use an integrated graphics processor. Here we find that the nVidia ION once again does quite well. I would imagine you would not have any issues with team fortress, Half-Life 2 or many other DX9 games from this era. For anything more, you should consider an additional graphics card, such as low-profile cards from AMD and nVidia.
We were more than a little surprised at the gaming performance we saw with the AT3IONT-I Deluxe. While normally we are used to seeing frame rates below 20, with the ION GPU we are getting above 20 in both cases. So while the AT3IONT-I Deluxe is not a gaming system, it is capable of offering good game play when confronted with some older titles.
Power and Heat
All systems draw power and generate heat. It is how they deal with that heat and power that concerns us. Many motherboards now have systems in place to reduce the amount of power drawn when at idle or less than 100% load.
As with many of Asus’ designs they have an excellent handle on power draw. Even looking at our overclocking tests we find that the power regulation design on the AT3IONT-I Deluxe is excellent.
Heat generation is another matter; the AT3IONT-I with its older Atom 330 and the ION MCP puts out quite a bit more heat than the D510 combined with an Intel chipset. The temperatures are well inside the thermal envelopes but we would recommend a well-ventilated case anyway.
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