Thanks, can I follow up and focus the question a little more (I'm guessing you have worked with the different classes of machines more than I have over the last couple years.)
I did try and do some research, but it is hard to determine actual user experience from the systems, there is a wealth of information in these forums (which has helped me quite a bit... thanks to all who contribute.) Just a couple of the threads I tried to decifer are below.http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=1008.0http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=4829.0
(which YOU indicate that the 945 chipset can handle 720p and allude to 1080p)
Well you need to differentiate between configuring your MD's displays to UI1 or possibly UI2 + Overlay and 720p or 1080p and upscaling a SD DVD for example...which a 945 & GMA950 with a reasonably fast processor is capable of handling and doing the same with h.264 encoded content...which it will really struggle with. Whereas the nVidia Ion/9300/9400 will handle with ease.
Also, I would expect there to be a difference in support of machines that can handle 1080i vs 1080p. I haven't tried a marginal machine for difference between 720p and 1080i, right now I have a laptop with a gma915 graphics and 1.6 Pentium processor, everything runs on UI1, primarily used for TV in kitchen (mythtv) on an old air2pc atsc tuner.
Well UI1 does not place anywhere near the same load on the processor or the GPU...so that will always provide better display performance on any given hardware.
Are the systems you're using single or dual core atoms, have you seen a difference once the system is up (boot time differences are not as interesting to me.)
We have support & use both single & dual core Atom's and there is a marginal performance gain for the dual core...for things like web browsing and general system throughput. Obviously the dual core Atom is less energy efficient.
All the best