AMD‘S BRAZOS PLATFORM has finally arrived, well, ok so AMD has already showed off what it has to offer, but the first retail products are launching today and one of the first out of the gate with a mini-ITX motherboard based on the new platform is Gigabyte. We headed over to Gigabyte’s HQ for a quick hands on with the board and to snap a few candid shots of it.
Updated: January 4, 2011 12pm, Added pricing information.
The GA-E350N-USB3 as the board is called is based on Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 3 motherboard design and as such it’s using the usual high quality components we’ve come to expect on Gigabyte’s motherboards. It might be an entry level board, but there’s nothing cheap about it. Gigabyte has kitted out the board with a three phase power regulation and the board has two full size DIMM slots for single channel DDR3 memory, supposedly all the way up to 1800MHz and potentially beyond.
The board has a full size x16 PCI Express slot but it’s only connected to the chipset via four lanes of bandwidth as this is a chipset limitation. The board also has four SATA 6Gbps ports, a pair of USB 2.0 pin headers and Gigabyte’s typical dual BIOS implementation. Around the back is a pretty good selection of ports including a PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 pots, D-sub, DVI and HDMI, a Gigabit Ethernet port and 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out. All of the USB ports on the board also support Gigabyte’s 3x USB power boost and there’s also support for Gigabyte’s On/Off charge.
The only thing we’re not so keen on is the little fan mounted on the otherwise high-quality looking heatsink which covers both the CPU and chipset and which is screwed in place from the rear rather than using push-pins. However, Gigabyte is not alone when it comes to fitting active cooling to this type of board, but hopefully there’ll be viable third party options that can be used for replacing the stock cooling. We don’t have a retail price of the board as yet, but it should hit retail sometime later this month.S|A
Update: The GA-E350N-USB3 is expected to hit retail with an MSRP of about $150, about the same as you’d expect to pay for a mini-ITX Atom board with ION graphics.
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