Compared to an older Core2 cpu the speed for a new i3-530 (about 107 € in germany) intel cpu is really impressive in the already known benchmarks. If you don't need quad core (for heavy compiling) you will certainly like it.
ion is interesting in the very small variants which could be directly mounted on the backside of a new tv. from the price however you pay the same - you just need more space - and get lots more performance.
That's true, initial costs will be similar because of the premium one pays for a sub-mATX board.
And if the usage pattern is similar, then a clarkdale-based system shouldn't use dramatically more power.
Except a clarkdale system without a GT2xx will rely on CPU decode via VAAPI, so avg. CPU usage should be higher.
But Nehalem is a more efficient architecture than Atom, so I guess it equalises out.
Sorry to just jump in here. I just read (most of) this thread. I am big fan of mythtv and have about 5 frontends running of our backend. We get over the air HD and it's working like a charm.
jalyst, I am just wondering what the purpose of the system is you are trying to build.
Are you trying to get a frontend that gets used for nothing else, meaning it's attached to the TV and stays there? Or are you going to use it for Gaming/Desktop purposes? Are you worried about the resell value/re-usability should you take it down?
I have been struggling with this question for a while and done a bit of research to find what would be the most bank for buck.
For now, for a dedicated front-end it look very much like I am getting the Acer Revo (ION, 9400M) to replace our old clunky P4's.
And the only times you need to worry about that is on 480i/1080i media, which will still look fine on Advanced 1X Deinterlacing or even Bob 2X (which is what I use on an 8600GT and it looks awesome).
As for websurfing, the Revo (3610 model) has a dual core Atom which is plenty to do things with. Gaming is decent, as long as you don't try playing a recent game on 1080P (this is according to reviewers on newegg and other places). But if you are a more serious gamer, it won't hold up.
I think the only thing you wouldn't like about the Revo is the fact that it doesn't have digital audio out. It only has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
But as far as a dedicated media frontend, with it's small power footprint, it's a winner in my opinion.
But again, as you mentioned you may have a different need/want for your system and that clarkdale system may be what you'd want.