The Llano APUs come in 2, 3 and 4 core variants. The table below lists all the retail SKUs available, along with current pricing. Note that the A4-3420 (which was initially OEM only, and was later supposed to debut in a retail model), A6-3600, A6-3620, A8-3800, and the A8-3820 don't seem to be available with any of the first-tier retailers, so we've left them out of the charts.

AMD Llano APU Lineup (Desktop)
APU Cores Frequency
(Turbo)
GPU GPU Config
(Shaders:TMU:ROP
@ Frequency)
Memory
Support
TDP Pricing
A4-3300 2 2.5GHz 6410D 160:8:4 @ 443MHz DDR3-1600 65W $60
A4-3400 2 2.7GHz 6410D 160:8:4 @ 600MHz DDR3-1600 65W $66
A6-3500 3 2.1GHz
(2.4GHz)
6530D 320:16:8 @ 443MHz DDR3-1866 65W $80
A6-3650 4 2.6GHz 6530D 320:16:8 @ 443MHz DDR3-1866 100W $85
A6-3670K 4 2.7GHz 6530D 320:16:8 @ 443MHz (Unlocked) DDR3-1866 100W $105
A8-3850 4 2.9GHz 6550D 400:20:8 @ 600MHz DDR3-1866 100W $110
A8-3870K 4 3.0GHz 6550D 400:20:8 @ 600MHz (Unlocked) DDR3-1866 100W $119

With the choice of available APUs out of the way, it is now time to take a look at the two Fusion Controller Hubs (FCHs) available for Lynx, the Llano desktop platform:

AMD Fusion Controller Hubs for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Chipset Code Name Unified Media Interface SATA USB 3/2/1.1 TDP
A55 Hudson-D2 x4 Gen 2 + Display Port 6 x 3Gbps 0/14/2 7.6W
A75 Hudson-D3 x4 Gen 2 + Display Port 6 x 6Gbps 4/10/2 7.8W

The three main motherboard form factors of interest to us are (in order of size):

  1. mini-ITX (17cm x 17cm)
  2. micro-ATX (24.4cm x 24.4cm)
  3. ATX (30.5cm x 24.4cm)

Scenarios which don't involve high quality gaming/complex TV tuner systems can make do with mini-ITX motherboards (only one expansion slot). On the other hand, for moderate gaming and/or the installation of capture cards/internal TV tuners, multiple expansion slots such as those in the micro-ATX motherboards might be required. For high end HTPCs that also double up as gaming rigs with cards in CrossFire and/or network DVRs with custom capture cards, ATX motherboards (which have up to seven expansion slots) are necessary.

We're not going to recommend any specific board for each size as being "best", as what qualifies as such will vary from person to person. However, it is worth nothing that the motherboard choice can have wide ranging effects on the overall stability and functionality of a system. If you buy an inexpensive board, it may or may not work with all memory modules, it might lack fine-grained fan control, overclocking features may not be present, and there's even a potential for incompatibilities with certain peripherals and/or SSDs. If any of those items are of particular importance to you, we'd suggest reading up on some of the motherboard reviews to see how the various boards compare. All of the boards listed below should work for a basic HTPC setup, but some are going to be better than others.

The following table gives you an idea of the various mini-ITX motherboards currently available. All boards have a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 expansion slot, 4x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2, and are based on the A75 chipset. All of these are targeted towards small form factor systems suitable for use as HTPCs, as they have both HDMI output as well as optical SPDIF for multi-channel audio.

HTPC Oriented mini-ITX Motherboards for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Vendor Board Name Memory Slots Misc. Notes Price
ASRock A75M-ITX 2x DDR3 2400+ GbE + 4x USB 3.0 $90
Asus F1A75-I DELUXE 2x DDR3 1866 GbE + 2x USB 3.0 + 1x USB 3.0 Internal Header $140
AzureWave Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
Mini-Remote/Keypad
Gigabyte GA-A75N-USB3 2x DDR3 2000+ RealtekGbE $74
Zotac A75ITX-A-E 2x DDR3 1866 DualGbE $133
802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
6x USB 3.0

Moving on to the micro-ATX configurations, we have a large number of choices. All options have HDMI output with audio. However, not all HTPC setups have a receiver capable of parsing audio over HDMI. In order to experience multi-channel audio in such a scenario, it is necessary to take advantage of the SPDIF output. The table below lists the six boards which satisfy this criteria. If optical SPDIF is not needed, we have many more choices.

HTPC Oriented micro-ATX Motherboards for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Vendor Board Name Memory Slots PCI Configuration Misc. Notes Price
Asus F1A55-M/CSM 4x DDR3 2250+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI 6x SATA 3Gbps, 2x USB 3.0 $78
ASRock A75M 2x DDR3 2400+ 1x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $75
ASRock A75 PRO4-M 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 2x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $84
Asus F1A75-M PRO 4x DDR3 1866 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI 6x SATA 6Gbps $105
ECS A75F-M 4x DDR3 1866 1x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 6x SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0 Headers $80
Gigabyte GA-A75M-D2H 2x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI 6x SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0 Headers $70

For most readers looking to build a Llano-based HTPC, one of the above motherboards should suffice. However, as we mentioned in the last section, users might also want to use their HTPC as a gaming rig; others might want PCI-E/PCI slots for multiple capture cards. A selection of full-sized ATX motherboards for such purposes is provided in the table below. Note that several of the boards also have anywhere from $10 to $30 main-in rebates, and very likely we'll see prices continue to drop as the Q3 launch of Trinity gets closer.

HTPC Oriented ATX Motherboards for Lynx (Desktop Llano)
Vendor Board Name Memory Slots PCI Configuration Misc. Notes Price
ASRock A55 PRO3 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16, 1x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 3Gbps, 2x SATA 6Gbps, 2x USB 3.0 $75
ASRock A75 PRO4 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $80
ASRock A75 Extreme6 4x DDR3 2400+ 3x PCI-E x16(x16/x0 or x8/x8, x4), 1x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 8x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $95
Asus F1A75-V PRO 4x DDR3 1866 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 7x SATA 6Gbps, 1xeSATA2, 1x DP $116
Asus F1A75-V EVO 4x DDR3 1866 3x PCI-E x16(x16/x0 or x8/x8, x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 7x SATA 6Gbps, 1xeSATA2, 1x DP $130
ECS A75F-A 4xDDR3 2600+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $80
Gigabyte GA-A75-D3H 4x DDR3 1866 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x4), 2x PCI-E x1, 3x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $90
Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H 4x DDR3 2400+ 2x PCI-E x16 (x16,x8), 3x PCI-E x1, 2x PCI 5x SATA 6Gbps, 1x eSATA2 $105

One thing to keep in mind is that Llano is basically a dead-end platform. AMD's Trinity will use socket FM2, so you won't be able to upgrade to anything faster than what we've currently listed. As noted above, we will also likely see prices drop further in the coming month or two. With the processor and motherboard chosen, let us move on to the other components of the build.

Introduction Memory and Storage Options
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  • TheTechSmith - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    The free computer software is dead but the Boxee Box is still under active development. And yes, it streams Netflix HD if your connection is fast enough. Reply
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Its hardware isn't selling well. For example, Dlink's other boxee was canceled, and reviews continue to be lackluster on stability etc. Boxee won't be around for much longer...but it does work for your use so that's great.

    Boxee abandoned its biggest fans by dropping software development for the HTPC. I was a big fan of Boxee until they did this, however it forced me to try Plex and it's SOOOOO much better than Boxee ever was!
    Reply
  • TheTechSmith - Wednesday, June 06, 2012 - link

    Good to know. I will probably try Plex when it comes time to buy a second TV, but at the moment Boxee does everything that I need. I have encountered crashes, but it's pretty rare in my case. I wasn't aware that D-Link was working on a second box that got cancelled. I hope they can survive... Reply
  • T2k - Thursday, June 07, 2012 - link

    Plex is a typical free pile of SHIT, they couldn't even write a proper documentation, forget built-in setup wizard.
    Plex is the typical fucked-up end product of a bunch of stupid, el cheapo nerds, released for free - it works if you spend enough time with it, otherwise it's a pile of shit especially if you are not so poor and usually are able to pay for something that works and comes with proper UI and support.
    Reply
  • johnsmith9875 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    I ended up buying a Sony SMP-N200. I gave up on an HTPC because of complexity, boot time, etc. It has enough interfaces and will do DLNA so I can stream from a PC over wireless and has fairly good support for video formats. I was not impressed with Roku's selective feature removal to fit price points, and I won't touch Apple. Reply
  • soapisclean - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Why so big with the power supplies?

    I built an A6-3500 system (the 3-core version) with an 80W Pico PSU.. no extra fans spinning and adding to the noise.. and it works beautifully with Ubuntu.
    Reply
  • treecats - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I build a HTPC for my parents with Intel Core i3-2120T/HD2000 + Foxconn SFF R40-H1 Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 (LGA1155) Intel Socket H2(LGA1155) Intel H67 none 1 x HDMI Barebone

    The machine played 1080p H.264 video files no problem at all. What do you mean by "not powerful enough for 1080p60 H.264 decoding"? I thought HD2000/3000 are specifically designed to handle high def video playback.

    Any comments would be helpful! Thanks!
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    I WANT it. Unfortunately, I cannot find any in Australia. Reply
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    WIth the prices of Ivy Bridge Celerons so low these days, why would anyone consider the hotter-running and less featured AMD LLano? Reply
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Sorry, meant Sandy Bridge Celerons. Reply

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