Ultra low power platforms have finally come off the ground and not just for car PC users. Now we are seeing them make their way into the home and also into the office. After all, an Atom powered workstation designed for simply running Word, Excel and basic web browsing makes it perfect for the job.
The first generation Atom processor, while being very energy efficient, did lack some power. Despite the fact it was given Hyper Threading technology, this really didn't help in any real world applications. In media playback tests we didn't see any real work being done by the Hyper Thread; it sat idle most of the time. It's clear that there is no substitute for a real second core.
Now we have something even better than the original Atom and that's the 3xx series Atom with a real second core as well as support for Hyper Treading. You have two real cores and two hyper threaded cores. And with Windows 7 supposedly having a much better assignment to know the difference between real cores and virtual cores, Atom 3xx series really is how Atom should have been in the first place.
As for GIGABYTE, the GA-GC330UD really is no different a board compared to earlier ones we've reviewed. The same chipset, layout, features and memory support are in place; the only difference is a better CPU.
As mentioned in our introduction, value is the big plus here with this board being less than half the price of the competition from VIA. At around $120 AUD you can't go wrong for an all-in-one platform with a decent balance of efficiency and performance for your low power requirements.
Overall, the GA-GC330UD is a brilliant board with the inclusion of the Atom 330 processor. The only addition we would like to see is DVI video output as well as replacing the PCI slot with a PCIe slot of some description.