Gigabyte GC230D Atom Mini-ITX motherboard review

Julio Franco

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Out of curiosity, I recently ran some power consumption tests on my own personal computer, which admittedly uses the latest hardware available in the market. Now, keep in mind this computer runs around the clock. The results were somewhat disturbing, sucking down about 300 watts at idle, and nearly 500 watts when under load. Combined with a 30” LCD and a number of additional devices attached to it, things start to add up, particularly the power bill.

But what is the best way of going about building a low-powered desktop computer that still has enough guts to get the job done? Another aspect that I really like about owning a low-powered desktop computer is that it can be small, really small, and this is where the Gigabyte GC230D motherboard comes in.

The Gigabyte GC230D measures just 17 x 17cm (6.7 inches), and in this tiny space it manages to incorporate an Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor and all other basics for less than $100.

You may have heard of the Atom 230 CPU already, built using a 45nm design process, boasting a core area of just 25mm2 and a thermal design process of a mere 4 watts!

Please leave your feedback here. Thanks!
Thanks for the review. These atom based boards are very interesting. Although it's interesting to see it compared it to a full-out quad-core system, it would also be nice to see it compared it to something a little closer to it in price/performance/power? The atom is a very low power CPU, but the 945GC is not. And because of this, the idle power usage isn't that impressive compared to other low power options. For instance I have a Gigabyte 780G motherboard with an AMD 4050e CPU. This uses around 32W at idle, only a few more than the atom board. But can still kick in some power when needed. With that comes about a 80W under load which is a good chunk more. But it can also do way more. A 740G motherboard would even shave a few more watts off and would be pretty comparable price wise to the atom board.

I hope intel comes out with a better chipset to support the atom. A more power friendly chipset could put this thing in the sub-20W idle range. As it is, I prefer the low powered AMDs with their much better chipset for lower power computing.

Julio Franco

Posts: 8,719   +1,609
Staff member
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Thanks for your feedback.

We tried getting the Via Nano CPU and platform from the manufacturer but they were unable to ship that to us on time for this evaluation. Steve still did a pretty good job at rounding up the key features and missing values of this Atom platform that in general could have done a lot better if the chipset was more up to date and not rehashed from an older Intel platform.
In general, i'm of a similar opinion to BillyBuerger: this was a good and worthwhile review, but the comparison platform(s) could have been more appropriate. Yes, a VIA Nano would have probably been the best comparison, but failing that an older generation of VIA processor would have been interesting. On the AMD side, an energy efficient Athlon (even though that's probably not appreciably better than an ordinary Athlon underclocked). And on the intel side, one of the Pentiums would also have been interesting.

In fact, I use a Pentium 2140 in a similar application, and the power consumption isn't too bad but how does the performance compare?

So, I think, even in the abscence of the Nano, you could have found more approprite comparisons.