While we look at the biggest and best hardware at TweakTown, we sometimes need to step back and take a look at the whole market. While hardcore make up a percentage, it's not the biggest out there; office systems make up most of the PCs out there today, and coming up very close now is the Digital Home and Home Theatre PCs that are becoming a more common addition to the lounge room, this thanks to XP Media Centre Edition and Vista. Once a pipe dream using WMP to simply play back movies stored on the hard disk, we can now have a full PC setup with Digital TV tuner, Blu-ray, HD video playback all within a small form factor PC.
While small is important, powerful and energy efficiency need to come into play, and while powerful and energy efficient don't always fall into the same basket, AMD has really made a push for the HTPC of tomorrow using technology of today to get the most power out of their setups, and without compromising on power efficiency, thermal efficiency and acoustics. AMD has for quite some time provided the most power efficient processors on the market. In fact, the ULV versions of the Athlon 64 X2 processors have been able to draw as little as 45watts, and at speeds of above 2GHz. Now, that's something even the laptops would love to have running in them, yet they are desktop processors. How's that for efficiency?
Today we are testing out AMD's latest addition to its 45watt TDP family with a clock speed of 2.5 GHz; that's pretty efficient for such a powerful processor with Dual Core functions. Rather than just being a CPU review, today we are looking at the new Athlon 4850e processor as a HTPC component in conjunction with the AMD 780G chipset and Radeon HD 3450 graphics card. How well does it perform in the HTPC and gaming department? Let's have a bit of a squiz.