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D945GCLF - complete with Intel Atom

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by oDii, May 27, 2008.

  1. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of only 10 (approximately) D945GCLFs in New Zealand at the moment and I thought I'd share some of the stuff I'd learned about it for the advantage of others. Firstly, pictures:

    [​IMG]

    Is the board itself, without this fan:

    [​IMG]

    which happens to be one of the worst fans I've ever heard. Rattles and just begged to be taken off. Not like it provides any meaningful airflow anyway.

    Curiously, after entering the BIOS, I found something interesting:

    [​IMG]

    Hyperthreading on an Atom!

    The heat output is insanely small compared to my D201GLY2 - this does not need active cooling. I'm planning to put Smoothwall on it (in the process of doing), but as a "final-cum-initial" gotcha, the integrated ethernet chip is going to be a pain for most Linux distributions (as well as Windows I imagine) as it's the Realtek RTL8101E.

    Anyone else have one? What have your experiences been?
     
  2. squeezee

    squeezee Limp Gawd

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    Yep, Hyperthreading is one of Atoms features. Also the larger HS+Fan is on the 945GC chipset and not the cpu, It's rated at 22W compared to around 2W for the CPU.

    Still, kind of odd that they'd put the fan on there if it doesn't get all that hot. Perhaps just CYA on their part.

    You're going to be one of the few people who have them at the moment, none of the north american shops are getting them for another week or two i believe.

    I think everybody would be interested to see some benchmarks or impressions of the board doing regular desktop tasks in windows/linux.
     
  3. sleepeeg3

    sleepeeg3 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ultra-low power consumption and redesigned from the ground up…. Yeah, I would like to see some benchmarks… This could be slower than a 600MHz VIA, for all we know.
     
  4. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    I'll see what I can do - I've just RIS'ed a copy of XP onto the machine and it's really, really snappy for what it is... if you've used an older AMD Athlon XP 2500+ or thereabouts I think would be what I'd equate it to just by the feel.

    Any requests for benchmarks? I'll run the standard SuperPi type applications for the sake of my curiosity, but most of my normal suite isn't really designed for this level of board (3DMark on GMA950 graphics isn't really too fair :rolleyes: ).
     
  5. sleepeeg3

    sleepeeg3 [H]ardness Supreme

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    See how it compares in Sandra.
     
  6. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    General:

    [​IMG]

    SuperPie 1million:

    [​IMG]

    Some SiSoft Sandra results:

    According to the graphs, it's roughly level with the Athlon XP 3000+. Useability wise it's great, as I said above... and when you consider just how little power it's using, and how little heat it's putting out... it's just incredible.
     
  7. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    Are there downloadable versions of the OfficeBench/PC WorldBench available? After some Googling I wasn't able to find a recent version to use. It'd be very interesting to compare them to the figures VIA have released for the their Nanos (here).
     
  8. pxc

    pxc Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Realtek has pretty complete support for that chip, everything from DOS to Win9x, WinCE, WinXP, XP x64, Vista 32-bit and x64, Unix, Linux, Novell, and OS X 10.4 & 10.5. It seems to have the most support of any chipset I have checked the download page for. :p

    http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads...d=7&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false
     
  9. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, it is easy in that regard that they actually have drivers for it available, but difficult in the regard that neither Windows XP nor the Linux kernel Smoothwall is based on currently (2.6.16.60) had drivers built in. If they had used something a bit older it would have been much nicer for me :p, although from the output of lspci:

    Code:
    01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8101E PCI Express Fast Ethernet controller (rev 02)
            Subsystem: Intel Corporation Unknown device 0001
            Control: I/O+ Mem+ BusMaster+ SpecCycle- MemWINV- VGASnoop- ParErr- Stepping- SERR- FastB2B-
            Status: Cap+ 66MHz- UDF- FastB2B- ParErr- DEVSEL=fast >TAbort- <TAbort- <MAbort- >SERR- <PERR-
            Latency: 0, Cache Line Size: 64 bytes
            Interrupt: pin A routed to IRQ 11
            Region 0: I/O ports at 2000 [size=256]
            Region 2: Memory at 48200000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4K]
            Region 4: Memory at 48000000 (64-bit, prefetchable) [size=64K]
            Expansion ROM at 48020000 [disabled] [size=128K]
            Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 3
                    Flags: PMEClk- DSI- D1+ D2+ AuxCurrent=375mA PME(D0+,D1+,D2+,D3hot+,D3cold+)
                    Status: D0 PME-Enable- DSel=0 DScale=0 PME-
            Capabilities: [50] Message Signalled Interrupts: Mask- 64bit+ Queue=0/0 Enable-
                    Address: 0000000000000000  Data: 0000
            Capabilities: [70] Express Endpoint IRQ 1
                    Device: Supported: MaxPayload 256 bytes, PhantFunc 0, ExtTag-
                    Device: Latency L0s <512ns, L1 <8us
                    Device: AtnBtn- AtnInd- PwrInd-
                    Device: Errors: Correctable- Non-Fatal- Fatal- Unsupported-
                    Device: RlxdOrd+ ExtTag- PhantFunc- AuxPwr- NoSnoop-
                    Device: MaxPayload 128 bytes, MaxReadReq 4096 bytes
                    Link: Supported Speed 2.5Gb/s, Width x1, ASPM L0s L1, Port 0
                    Link: Latency L0s <512ns, L1 <64us
                    Link: ASPM Disabled RCB 64 bytes CommClk- ExtSynch-
                    Link: Speed 2.5Gb/s, Width x1
            Capabilities: [ac] MSI-X: Enable- Mask- TabSize=2
                    Vector table: BAR=4 offset=00000000
                    PBA: BAR=4 offset=00000800
            Capabilities: [cc] Vital Product Data
    
    it looks like that Intel had a spare PCI-E lane they wanted to use.
     
  10. pxc

    pxc Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    You have my sympathy for the troubles you're going to have installing it under Linux, but the Windows installation is cake. OS X installation is almost as easy, but I noticed it usually takes 2 reboots to make it work on the wireless RTL cards at least.
     
  11. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    Hey, this is new tech; no sympathies are needed here mate. Out of this I've learnt how to build my own modules in Linux. I was just communicating the fact that, as this formfactor is ideal for a Smoothwall or any form of imbedded system that would/might run Linux, there would likely be some issues during setup that one might not expect instead of everything working off the bat like it did with the D201GLY2 (for instance) due to it using a Realtek ethernet controller over an SiS.
     
  12. crabnebula

    crabnebula n00bie

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    Does the heatsink on the chipset get hot at all?

    I was hesitating between this and the D201GLY2. I wasn't so sure the total power consumption is that much lower due to the 945GC chipset, and the Atom is considerably slower than the Celeron 220. I've also read that you can undervolt the Celeron on the D201GLY2 to reduce power/heat output.
     
  13. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    This is definately a lot less hot than the D201GLY2. Yes, the chipset does get hot but even under load shouldn't need much of an airflow... mine just gets the benefit of an old doublefanned Enermax power supply I had laying around and that is more than enough.
     
  14. ultatryon@ecc

    ultatryon@ecc [H]ard|Gawd

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    My i915Gmm board has the same ethernet chip, and under CentOS, there was a DKMS driver for the 8101, which took some know-how to get in there, but it was cake once it was there.
     
  15. InorganicMatter

    InorganicMatter Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Only one LAN port?

    Darn it. I need a board with two LAN ports on it, and I really want to avoid using the PCI slot. Mini-ITX cases go way up in size and price when PCI slots get involved.:(
     
  16. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    May I ask why do you need 2 lan ports?
     
  17. QwertyJuan

    QwertyJuan [H]ardForum Junkie

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    for a smoothwall perhaps??
     
  18. InorganicMatter

    InorganicMatter Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    This:
    ClarkConnect, actually, but the same basic concept.
     
  19. Jakalwarrior

    Jakalwarrior 2[H]4U

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  20. Fuzzy_3D

    Fuzzy_3D n00bie

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    Hi, I have 4 quick questions about this Board / CPU combo.

    1. Can you Over and Under clock the CPU?

    2. Can it decode 1080p H264 24fps content at stock clocks?

    3. Can you use the PCI slot for an add in Video card (for component/composite output)?

    4. What does it score in Cinebench 10?
     
  21. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    1. Not in this version of the BIOS - there are no FSB or multiplier configuration options.

    2. No. I tried Trailer 3 of The Dark Knight from apple.com/trailers and it stuttered a lot.

    3. Presumably, I hadn't tried... stock standard PCI slot as far as I'm aware. Interestingly, I noticed that in FudZilla's review they have a DVI port - I most definitely have a VGA port - so there may be more versions of this board floating around that we are not quite aware of yet (so don't be disappointed it doesn't come in your favorite color because it might just).

    4. I'll add this to the list of benchmarks to run tomorrow (currently running Smoothwall in a test environment under load to see how it goes).

    Just regarding benchmarks, I'm open to trying any however they will need to be readily available (still disappointed that all of the benchmarks VIA has released of their Nano seem to be using proprietary benchmarks that I for instance cannot get a hold of to run on the Atom).

    I take it using a PCI riser card (1 to 2 slots) would be out of the question? I suppose it'd take you out of Mini-ITX and into the 1U formfactor, but if you were crafty with the positioning of the powersupply/drives it'd still be damn small!
     
  22. QwertyJuan

    QwertyJuan [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I still find it hard to believe that it only has one LAN port... I am with the guy above... a Smoothwall or IPCOP, would be what a TON of people would use one of these boards for....
     
  23. razor2050

    razor2050 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't care about 1 LAN, I wished it had Gigabit LAN on the PCI-E bus. This will make an awesome low power file-server.
     
  24. Raz1r

    Raz1r Limp Gawd

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    Just wait guys, they'll have quite a few Atom boards out by the end of the year. Did anyone see the boards from MSI and Gigaybte from the Computex coverage? They've got gigabit LAN over PCI-E.

    Intel is making a huge push for Mini-ITX.
     
  25. Raz1r

    Raz1r Limp Gawd

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    Delete Please.
     
  26. squeezee

    squeezee Limp Gawd

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    Actually according to the manuals now available on their site, you can adjust the Multiplier from the "Maintainance" menu when the board is set to "Configure" mode. (CMOS jumper on pins 2-3)
     
  27. oDii

    oDii Limp Gawd

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    Really? I can only presume I'm running a different version of the BIOS that they used to write that as when I set the board to "maintainence" and even "recovery" (no pins jumpered), I had no options for setting the multiplier. All either mode does is give access to the Maintainence menu, which allows for clearing passwords and reenabling USB ports and the like - nothing to do with any clocking options.

    I'd also strongly suspect that if I flashed the BIOS to the version that they're using, the option would not actually change the multiplier as this seems to be the way Intel is heading.
     
  28. squeezee

    squeezee Limp Gawd

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    Ahh, yeah looking at it again the list of bios options is generic for a range of boards, so they may not have put the feature in there. Supposedly you change "Default Frequency Ratio" to disabled, then you can adjust "CPU Frequency Multiplier", but if the option isn't there what can you do.

    Either way with the low power draw and performance of the chip i don't think it's worthwhile to underclock it anyways. Hell you'll get better power savings by unplugging your keyboard or mouse.

    If we're lucky perhaps a non-intel board will come along and give us some overclocking options.
     
  29. Methanoid

    Methanoid n00bie

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    I hope so... I mean pair a 2w CPU with a 25w chipset... how dumb is that? Poulsbo is the mobile Atom chipset and that would rock for a SFF PC - it also has H264 acceleration etc so would make for a great HTPC, low power server or NAS box, the list goes on....

    Even Asus new eBox doesnt have a decent chipset!
     
  30. squeezee

    squeezee Limp Gawd

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    The Atom N270 (netbook) or Atom N230(nettop) processors are limited by Intel for use with the 945GSE or 945GC chipsets respectively. So don't get your hopes up about other manufacturers using different chipsets.

    The chipsets you're thinking of are for use with the Atom Centrino platform, which is only going to be in smaller more pocket-formfactor devices.
     
  31. Methanoid

    Methanoid n00bie

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    err Wikipedia seems to say 945GSE IS Poulsbo.... which is the Atom chipset with accelerated video decode built in!??!
     
  32. fibroptikl

    fibroptikl [H]ardness Supreme

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    If this had Onboard S/PDIF I'd get rid of my Core 2 Quad and use one of these as my foobar2000 computer.

    (I own a MacBook, but I use foobar for my music on a second PC)
     
  33. squeezee

    squeezee Limp Gawd

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    If you followed my link you'll see that the Atom MID chipsets are the System Controller Hubs, the US15W for example has hardware video decode.

    Wikipedia says lots of things which aren't quite correct, link.
     
  34. InorganicMatter

    InorganicMatter Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Man, I just noticed that mini-ITX board also has a 12V CPU connector. /facepalm

    Those things are a pain in mini-ITX systems. Finding a reasonably priced case with a PSU capable of outputting the required power and having the right connectors is a real challenge.
     
  35. __Miguel_

    __Miguel_ Gawd

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    I read somewhere (an e-store in Portugal where you can actually pre-order one of these) that this board actually has the 4-pin connector "pre-bridged", which I assume means you don't actually REQUIRE the connector to be present, only advisable.

    Which makes A LOT of sense, since the damn CPU consumes less than the southbridge, which I believe gets its power from the ATX12V connector... :rolleyes:

    Btw, AFAIK, most (if not all) PicoPSUs now ship with the Molex>ATX12V2 converter, so that will only be a problem in configurations VERY tight on space (though you'll have to deal with the oversized SB cooler first... hehe)

    Cheers.

    Miguel


    P.S.: Anyone knows when these ones will be available in Europe? Especially in Portugal? And/or if they're easy to find in the US (I might have someone go there in a while, and getting stuff at half the price it would usually cost me - customs, import taxes, VAT, VAT again, reseller margins, stupid 1:1 USD:Euro convertion rate followed by resellers, etc. - is always nice... hehe)
     
  36. crabnebula

    crabnebula n00bie

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    At least the 945GSE has a low TDP of 6W, compared to the 945GC with 22W.

    If we could get a mini-itx board with Atom N270 + 945GSE + Gigabit LAN controller it would be great for a server/nas or other network device. For HTPC uses the G45 mini-itx board should be a good option.
     
  37. Methanoid

    Methanoid n00bie

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    Yup, 945GSE and Gigabit would do me then!!

    Can you guys help a doddering old fool. I am sure I have seen a screenshot or page where some guy has got OSX running on an Atom CPU.

    Anyone got a link. I've spent last few days looking... I didnt imagine it.... really!! :D
     
  38. __Miguel_

    __Miguel_ Gawd

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    What he said, plus the following:

    Unfortunately, Intel imposed pretty severe limitations on the Atom packages. First, the CPUs are only designed to be used with two different chipsets, both based on the aging 90nm-based (at least) tech: the 945G. While that IS a good chipset for this performance level (it's still one of the most prevalent in entry-level Intel-based systems), the power output is REALLY off the charts. That probably won't change until the shrink on the CPU and chipset, next year or so. When that happens, we'll probably have a single package CPU+MCH+IOCH (CPU+Northbridge+Southbridge) combo, all 45nm-based, with VERY good power and performance features. Untill then, however, we're stuck....:(

    The 945GSE is not really an option for the desktop market. It is a very compelling chipset power-wise, but because of Intel impositions on the nettop configurations, you can't have SATA with that CPU+chipset combo (which sucks big time). That's why you probably won't see mobos based off that chipset. Well, that and the fact apparently Intel has driver issues with the IGP of the 945GSE (that seems to be very common with Intel...:rolleyes::p)

    Which brings me to the point... The desktop EeePC has a SATA drive, NOT IDE. And its power draw is in the 20W region. That begs the question: Why are power draw figures of this motherboard so high? Surely the chipset can handle lower voltages and still behave correctly... I mean, it can go as high as 1066MHz FSB on stock voltages, and the Atom only needs half that.

    Cheers.

    Miguel
     
  39. Raz1r

    Raz1r Limp Gawd

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    I've not seen one confirmed yet. Once I get my board I'll check it out. It should be quite easy, the 945GC area on OSX86 recorded no problems with the chipset. As long as the Atom behaves it should be a piece of cake to install 10.5.1 on.

    I know that netkas released a screenshot of a benchmark with an Atom processor, but I'm not sure it was with this board, or even with this version of the Atom.
     
  40. squeezee

    squeezee Limp Gawd

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    The EEE Box uses the mobile platform (N270/945GSE), not the desktop/nettop (230/945GC) platform that the D945GCLF does. I didn't see anything that would preclude them from having SATA drives since the ICH7-M provides the functionality.