Atom 330/E5200?

Currently (attempting) to decide between an Atom 330 based solution vs an E5200 based solution.

This machine is (ideally) meant for the following:

  • BitTorrent client
  • PS3 DLNA Media Server (with hopefully sufficient CPU power for transcoding)
  • not making whirring sounds when it’s on
  • not increasing ambient room temp by 5°

Information gathered so far:

  • the Atom330 is a fair bit more energy efficient at idle (or close)
  • the E5200 has a fair bit more CPU power (which tends to lead to it completing tasks faster and therefore returning to idle faster compared to the Atom330)
  • at peak CPU usage, the E5200 consumes (approx) 25%-30% more power than the Atom330
  • it is very unlikely that the E5200 will be able to run with passive cooling (ala the Atom330)
  • in an Atom330 based solution it is likely that either the PSU or the HDD will be the main source of noise

Just to clarify; all the above are in the scenario of a typical mini ITX casing (especially point regarding passive cooling). Given a large ATX case with sufficient airflow, passive cooling is definitely an option for the E5200 (and even higher)… however, in the case of a miniature, packed, and crowded ITX casing… unlikely…

Decision so far:

  • I’m fucked and can’t decide
  • I may end up getting both and putting up findings here to help other poor people stuck in the same position as me

For some strange reason, most of the Atom330 reviews I can find online seem to compare it to (retardedly) powerful processors and not the low-end budget CPUs. It’s like I was writing a review on fuel/petrol efficiency, decided to compare a Daihatsu Mira to a Ferrari Enzo… and somehow managed to find the majority of my article slamming the Mira for not reaching 200km/h.


  1. I have an Atom 330 dual core in a Mini-ITX case, cooled passively. It overheats after a few hours of relatively minor CPU cycle. Heat saturation of the surrounding components and no airflow will do it.

  2. Well, if I eventually do get an Atom (which is unlikely ATM), I’d probably go for a case that has “reasonable” airflow and not the smallest that I can find (like the CDROM sized casing). Either way, since the Atom330 doesn’t seem to be able to do 1080p transcoding reasonably, I’ll probably hold off until an Atom/Variant is able to do so before making any ITX purchases.

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