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  Iwill's XP4 Mini-PC, cutting size but not performance 
  Apr 01, 2003, 08:30am EST 


By: Dan Mepham

As this is our first formal evaluation of a mini-PC, we have no baseline or reference point to which we can compare Iwill's unit. We have, however, compared the XP4 to a standard desktop system both with respect to computing performance and thermal performance.

Both systems were loaded with a 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 processor with HyperThreading enabled. We used an 845GV motherboard similar to Iwill's proprietary solution in the XP4 in our desktop system to remain as consistent as possible. A Western Digital WD400BB 7,200 rpm hard disk was used, and in each case a SoundBlasterAudigy was installed in an available PCI slot. Both systems were outfitted with 256 MB of DDR400 DDR SDRAM provided to us by">TwinMOS Technologies.


Both systems were powered by Windows XP. We ran through just a couple quick tests; first, to give an idea of the performance of the XP4 relative to a similarly-equipped desktop system, we ran both through a SysMark 2002 loop.

 DesktopIwill XP4
Content Creation271268
Office Productivity169163

As you can see, there's virtually no performance difference. The Iwill XP4 performs just as well as a similar desktop system, remembering of course that both use Intel's integrated graphics solution. In a situation where an integrated motherboard would ordinarily be used, the XP4 can keep pace nicely, something that cannot be said for VIA's mini-ITX platform.

Lastly, to give an idea of the thermal limitations of such a small unit, we compared the operating temperatures of both systems. Measurements were taken at idle, after 10 minutes of Prime95 processing, and after 45 minutes of Prime95 processing.

 DesktopIwill XP4
10 Min. Prime9548/3154/33
45 Min. Prime9554/3361/38

In each case, the first number is the CPU temperature as measured by the Pentium 4's on-die diode. The second is the case temperature reported by the motherboard. These numbers are certainly not perfectly accurate, however they do illustrate the difficulties encountered by high-performance components in small spaces.

1. Introduction
2. Basics
3. Inside the (Mini) Beast
4. Installation & Setup
5. Performance
6. Summary

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