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Zotac ION-ITX-A Review
Posted on May 12, 2009 Go to:

Benchmarks

We chose another Zotac Mini-ITX board we already know very well to compare against, the Zotac 9300-ITX Wi-Fi, which we fitted with an inexpensive Intel Core Duo E5200 CPU. It is very significant that we chose a Socket board as a yard stick. There simply aren't any embedded boards around with the graphics capabilities of the ION-ITX. We chose the 9300-ITX and E5200 combination as the combined cost and feature set is very similar to the ION-ITX-A (excusing the A's internal power supply). Test setup was identical as possible - 4GB RAM on each system, with identical 80GB SATA hard drives and Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 installs.

Sandra CPU Benchmarks

Sisoft's Sandra is a comprehensive diagnostic, analysis and testing package. Benchmarks do not always represent a true real-life performance, but they are useful to compare the speed of various CPUs, and elements of the system.

The Dhrystone benchmark is a long standing industry benchmark used to measure CPU performance using a standardised sample of mainly numerical operations. The result is given in GMIPS (Thousand Million Instructions Per Second). The Whetstone benchmark measures FPU (Floating Point) performance, although many modern processors have a number of newer features such as out-of-order execution, pipelining and SSE2 which are not tested using this benchmark. The result is given in GFLOPS (Thousand Million Floating Operation Instructions Per Second).

The ION-ITX-A produced identical results to the Intel D945GCLF2 we tested last year, which has exactly the same dual core Atom processor on board. These make the ION-ITX-A amongst the fastest embedded Mini-ITX boards in terms of processor speed. Although the E5200 is 3 times faster, we know the ION board will be fast enough to run Windows Vista effectively. But it's not the processor, it's the ION chipset we're interested in.

wPrime32 - calculating prime numbers with multiple CPUs

Next we chose wPrime32, a multithreaded version of superpi. Hyper Threading was enabled on both boards by default giving 2 effective CPUs for each core.

In this test, shorter bars are better. The ION-ITX-A performed like the D945GCLF2 again, with the E5200 twice as fast.

MediaEncoder - encoding video with multiple CPUs

MediaEncoder is an excellent freeware application that encodes video into a variety of formats using all the available CPUs on a system. We re-encoded 1 minute of MPEG4 video using the default settings (the same video and settings we used in our Atoms review last year)

Predictable dual core Atom results for the ION board, with the E5200 about twice as fast in a more real world CPU-based task again.

Some 3D Benchmarking - 3D Mark 2006

We tested 3D Mark 2006 using the default settings:

The NVIDIA 9400M graphics of the ION-ITX-A compares well against the NVIDIA 9300 graphics on the 9300 board. We suspect the CPU component of the test skewed it a little more in the 9300s favour. We can't see any problems throwing undemanding 3D games at the ION, but a Far Cry 2 machine this is not.

Heat, Power and Noise -->

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