I probably have a few more computers than the average person.
Every few years they need replaced and I try to minimize the cost as
much as I can. My HTPC can't keep up with high definition content
or games. While building the replacement I thought it would it would be
fun to compare the performance.
While this serves as a fun historical record I thought others might enjoy
seeing it especially if they are considering similar components or curious
what I develop emulators like Project64 with.
Considering how old this machine is, I'm still satisfied with how it turned out.
The AMD Sempron was infamous for running very cool with a reasonable
TDP of 62W due to it's ability to dynamically change it's voltage
to save power. The ABIT motherboard was selected due to it's MicroATX
form factor and DDR400 support. It's been a a very stable machine for
me, but I plan on avoiding VIA chipsets and ATI video capture hardware
in the future.
The GeForce 6200, like the FX 5200 I owned before it, has been a
mixed blessing. It handles MPEG-2 decoding in real time but still uses
too much CPU and there is no way it can handle
high definition broadcast streams. Additionally it has poor 3D performance
with any content that needs any serious bandwidth. I had no problem
playing Project64 with it compared to the FX 5200 however which
struggled at times.
Researching another low power solution is a challenge as this is a
relatively new concept in the market, and most of the technology has
changed through the years, however I was able to come up with something
Going back to Intel chips was relief after struggling with AMD.
The biggest decision was deciding whether or not get the nVidia
7150 based motherboards, or waiting for the new Intel X4500
integrated graphics. I ended up deciding to completely stay away from integrated graphics:
does not support dual channel DDR2 at all, and the benchmarks for
the 7150 are basically at best 10-20% better than the GeForce
6200 I have now
is supposed to be an integrated graphics wet dream. It has full
acceleration for H.264 and is 1.7X faster than their current generation
X3500. The downfall for me was this is not due out for another 6
months, and will likely be pretty expensive 125$US when paired
with an HDMI port. Also while 1.7X the performance of the X3500 is
very promising for integrated graphics, it's just that, a promise.
I ended up with another low end GeForce due to the fact that this
is for a small form factor PC, and the next step up from this is an
8500/8600 and they either look like vaccuum cleaners,
or have fans so weak that they melt onto the heat-sinks. After building
I decided to run 3D Mark 2005:
Overall given the benchmarks, it looks like I got a 3X increase in performance across the board with this upgrade, definitely nothing to shake a stick at so I'm quite happy.