Which Mini HTPC Platform to Buy? AMD E-350 APU vs. Intel Atom D525 with ION 2

If you’re in the market for a mini HTPC that won’t break the bank and will provide performance on par to high-end entertainment PCs from just a few years back, you’re probably scratching your head wondering which platform should I buy? On the one hand, you have the proven and popular Intel Atom D525 with NVIDIA ION 2 graphics. On the other, you have AMD’s new E-350 APU, which combines the CPU and GPU on one chip. Well, I’m going to save you some time and tell you that the AMD E-350 is the clear winner for HTPC duties.

Reason being, Hot Hardware (and AnandTech to an extent) has gone through the laborious task of testing and benchmarking both platforms and found that AMD E-350 outperforms the Intel Atom D525 with ION 2 graphics in every category except Gaming (in some instances) — and only by the slightest of margins. AMD E-350 bests its competitor in productivity, music, PCMarks, communications, and movies. What’s more, AMD E-350 is more power efficient and is the only one of the two who supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA bitstreaming over HDMI (a big deal for HTPC enthusiasts).

AMD E-350 based products, I’ve noticed, also support the latest SATA 3.0 6Gbps hard drives and faster DDR3 1066 memory. All in all, AMD’s E-350 is a nice package and offers the most bang for the buck. If I was going to buy, an AMD E-350 based product would be the one I’d get. FYI, ASUS has an AMD E-350 1215B netbook on the way, in case you’re interested.

Note: the benchmarks below are for ZOTAC’s ZBOX HD-AD03 (AMD 1.6Ghz E-350) vs. ASUS’ Eee PC 1215N Netbook (Intel Atom 1.8Ghz D525 with ION 2). The 1215N should be comparable to ASUS’ EeeBox EB1501P PC (Intel Atom 1.8Ghz D525 with ION 2) pictured above.

Amazon pricing (both under $530): ZOTAC ZBOX HDAD03BR with Blu-ray, ASUS EeeBox EB1501P with Super Multi DVD-RW.

UPDATE – 8/22/11: AMD announces the E-450 APU


Tags: , , , , , ,
Filed in: Entertainment PCs, Industry Buzz

1 Reaction to “Which Mini HTPC Platform to Buy? AMD E-350 APU vs. Intel Atom D525 with ION 2”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have the new ZBox AD03 and it is fantastic. The AD03 can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA via HDMI when I play my ripped blu-ray files (m2ts and MKVs). None of the crappy Intel Atom boxes can do this at all. Don’t know why people are still consider Intel Atom platform. HD sound is a HUGE part of HD movies experience and compressed DTS sound is not going to cut it anymore.

    Also put in 128GB Crucial SSD (SATA 3.0 6Gbps) which screams. So happy with this.