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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review on Intel Atom D510MO

New:
Found Intel Rapid Storage Controller Driver for NM10 Chipset.

Intel just release a new 5XX series firmware update for this board.
However if you are using the 3XX series firmware you need to update to the 4XX series firmware as a transitional firmware update before you can update to the latest firmware otherwise update will fail. You might like to read this before upgrading though.
Go to http://downloadcenter.intel.com/ and select Desktop Boards -> Intel NM10 Family Chipset -> D510MO.
Be sure to check out readme and read which executable is suitable for you.

Intel just updated their Rapid Storage Driver for Atom Systems it is still "NOT AVAILABLE" for D510MO but the driver which is release for the new generation Atom will work on D510MO
(Links below)


You can get the rest of the drivers from Intel Download Centre.


Recently I switch over the desktop system to an Intel Atom D510 on NM10 Chipset.
The reason was simple, the use of this system is mainly Word, PowerPoint, Internet Browsing, file Server as well as printer server so why not switch over to a energy efficient platform and save on electricity bills.
The Atom is touted to have a TDP of 13 watts, it is a dual core Processor running at 1.66GHZ with Hyperthreading enable on both Cores resulting in a total of 4 logical cores.
In comparison mainstream Intel/AMD Mobile Processors have a typical TDP of 25-35 Watts and Desktop Processors 90-130 Watt depending on processor specification.
I bought a Intel OEM version as it is the cheapest and is the reference board design.


I will not do gaming benchmarks because it is not meant for gaming at all.
Instead I will just comment on what you can expect from this simple system.

So I shall comment on the pros and cons.

Pros:
1) The Chip is embedded in the board so you actually pay for a motherboard and a cpu for the price of a low end cpu quite a bargain.

2) Good responsiveness for general computing tasks.

3) Passive heatsink, there are no fans on the board so it is quiet and the heatsink is capable of dissipating heat generated by the processor but case fan must be present for proper case ventilation.


One observation I made while stress testing the cpu is that it never seems to be fully taxed so it always maintains a good responsiveness, this minimise lagging issues over the weak cpu.

4)Supports Wireless there is a PCI-E express slot for Laptop Wireless Cards (**Antenna & Card sold separately)

5)Decent Realtek High Definition Audio

6)It uses Intel EFI instead of BIOS (There is a way to OEM SLIC it if you know what I mean..)

7)Small i-ATX form factor it can fit into i-ATX, m-ATX and ATX and can take any compatible ATX power Supply.

8)SSD supported.

9)Booting the system is very fast, the Intel EFI Firmware got the system up and running very quickly.
I believe this is due to Intel Boot Optimized EFI Firmware as compared to EFI by other companies like Insyde, AMI and Phoenix.

10)You can self modify the firmware by using Intel Integrator Assistant

Now for the cons.

1)2 SATA ports isn't enough IMO they should include 4. If you have 4 hard drives and is contemplating switching to an Intel Atom platform you can consider buying Atom Boards from OEMs like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte as most will have more than 2 SATA Ports.

2)Normal Quality Capacitors, the Intel Reference board uses normal capacitors but offerings from other OEMs especially Gigabyte will include solid capacitors.

3)Maximium Flash Rendering up to 720p only on Youtube. At 1080p frame drops occur on Adobe Flash 10.1. I made sure I got the latest driver for Intel 3150 and it supposedly support HD Decoding but well you are still limited to 720p not the highest but good enough for me.

Edit:
Following Updated Flash Plugins and Latest Intel Graphics Driver for D510MO it is capable of rendering 1080p movies. The test is to run Big Buck Bunny 1080p definition and observing the processor utilization.
Older Flash Plugins and Drivers tend to saturate the it to 100% utilization while updates enabled it to render without hitting 100% utilization. There are very little observable frame drops.

If you desperately need HD Capabilites go for an OEM ION Offering instead.

4)Support only Single Channel DDR2 but it isn't suppose to be a performer so memory frequency shouldn't matter much.

5)Legacy I/O Ports like Parallel and Serial Ports are removed although there are pin outs available on the Mainboard you can plug them into.

In conclusion this is a good board for its intended purpose of cost and energy savings.

It will do well for most computing task except Flash Movies played in the  Highest Definition and PC gaming.

Some more details you don't find on the packaging:
1) ICH-7 AHCI SATA Controller (SouthBridge Controller).
2) Intel GMA 3150
3) Realtek RTL8165/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
4) Realtek ALC662 High Definition Audio
5) Intel 82801 GBM ICH-7M


Drivers for the D510MO Storage Driver actually exist. You just need to find Netbooks using the NM10 Chipset and use their corresponding  32bit AHCI Driver or 64bit AHCI Driver.(Older Version because Acer stopped releasing Windows 7 Intel Atom Netbooks supporting 64bit).


Intel Rapid Storage Version 10 for 32/64bit AHCI Driver From Intel
(Both x64/x86 binaries can be found in the file):

4 comments:

Daksh said...

Hi. I have this board and was wondering what EFI is and how to install it. Right now I see a POST screen at startup like every other pc.

Admin said...

Read here about EFI. It is actually nothing much except EFI is a new firmware standard to solve long standing issues with PC-BIOS.
Intel's EFI on their motherboard is different from other firmware companies implementation as they specifically included ultra fast POSTing in it. You don't have to install it. It is already inside. You only need to install OS (Windows) or Linux to operate the computer.

Daksh said...

Ah thanks. What version of windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit are you using and getting instant POST.

BTW i believe using CoreAVC codec for H264 you can decode 1080 video on this board. Can't check as I'm using it as a file server.

Admin said...

Just set the harddisk timeout to zero, set the harddisk to primary boot device and disable other boot device.
This will ensure it boots the OS in the shortest possible time.
Using Windows 7 32bit due to some of my old PCI devices doesn't have 64bit drivers because the manufacturer didn't provide it.