I’ve had this first generation Atom motherboard for a year now and it has served me well as a test bench for different browsers / systems; to fill the office with music; as a backup desktop (just great for web surfing and office tasks).
I like energy efficient and silent systems and the Atom seems to be the right platform for that. Unfortunately Intel fitted its first generation boards with an inefficient, old chipset. It can still be powered by a PicoPSU (on the left side, plugged into the traditional power connector), but it also require massive cooling (notice the difference in size between the heatsink of the Atom (front) and the one of the chipset.
Worse of it all, the standard heatsink has a (noisy) fan. I decided to replace it with a forged copper one (Enzotech CNB-R1 Rev A). The fan becomes optional.
I also moved the motherboard from the old Apple case to a first generation Antec Sonata that was lying around unused. Oversized is an understatement (and its power supply will be unused) but it is sturdier and it resists my son’s attempts to analyze its interiors.
For a perfect 0 dB computing experience I’ve added a compact-flash to IDE interface and recycled an “old” 2GB CF card. Computing power and data are provided via the network: SSH to control the server and VNC to control the workstation – both noisy, heat producing, and behind the closed office door.
Filed under: desktop