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  • sprockkets - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I have the AsRock board. I get 18w idle and 24w under load via a killawatt device. Granted it uses an 80w power supply, but I'm kinda wondering how you got 59w for something that is practically the same setup in each board. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I was using a less than ideal power supply for the power draw tests which was very inefficient in this range (<20% of maximum power), and unfortunately I don't have anything more appropriate at hand to test with. The comparisons (I believe) between the boards are more than relevant though. I will hopefully rectify this in future reviews of lower powered systems.

  • formulav8 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Why didn't you wait to do power consumption tests then? Reply
  • bah12 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    While not ideal, I'd say the whole point of this article was to illustrate the differences in the boards. Thus as long as they all suffered from the same inefficient PS, the information is not useless in that you can still draw a conclusion based on the differences at the board level. All and all, not ideal but useful. Reply
  • BushLin - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I once tried to reason with the fanboys at AMDZone on Anands behalf, defending that the reviews here were objective... I think I'm starting to believe that their might be some truth in their beliefs that the odds are stacked against AMD when their products are reviewed on here.

    At best, this review is a misguided. It focuses far too heavily on areas these systems are not aimed at, misinforms (or fails to inform) on areas that it's market are interested in and answers stupid questions that no-one is asking. Testing a GTX 580 with an E-350 at 4x PCI-E... really? Why not test out how well these work as a HTPC compared to something like ION and the latest Atom?

    At worst, this review could almost be seen as a deliberate undermining of a technology that's potentially superior to it's Intel's offering and how often could you honestly say that since Core2?. Most of the tests are irrelevant (or become irrelevant when comparing to much higher TDP chips), the one test you did manage to do which is very relevant (power consumption) was so high that it prompted me to look at other reviews and take the time to write this comment!

    This review has idle power consumption as at least 36w, Xbit have it at 7.3w even with a 880w PSU. One of these reviews has it very wrong, I know which one I'm more inclined to believe.
  • IKeelU - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I have to agree with your assessment of the review.

    - These boards are aimed at HTPC market, but the review was focused...elsewhere (frankly, I can't tell what the focus was).
    - How is the audio quality? I was very interested in the ASUS board until I noticed it doesn't have 6-channel direct out. This is important!
    - Another, less important, point: The features/specs for each board should come first. Double points for a feature comparison table.
  • AnandThenMan - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    It is extremely unfortunate that Anandtech has sacrificed their integrity when it comes to reviewing some of AMD's products. I really hope that more and more people are made aware of what is going on, these reviews are downright dishonest.

    The most important question people need to ask is, why is this happening? What is the incentive for to publish these misleading reviews?
  • ET - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    Can you explain what is dishonest or misleading about this review? I agree that it could be better, but I don't see anything to indicate that anything was falsified here. Reply
  • medi01 - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link


    Cough "This review has idle power consumption as at least 36w, Xbit have it at 7.3w even with a 880w PSU. ", cough?

    Oh, it's irrelevant, because we're comparing motherboards of the same platform? Orly? What if I read this, say "OMG it consumes so much energy" and go buy Atom?

    Tell me how to get that 36w idle thing, what kind of PSU should be used, to justify 7.3w (with bloody 880w PSU!!!!) vs 36w please?

    What are 5850 580gtx doing in this review?

  • Finraziel - Thursday, September 01, 2011 - link

    Monstrously late reply... but I just can't not leave this comment... Did any of you actually read the xbit article? Those power draw measurements are measured between the PSU and the components, only measuring what the components are actually using, completely ignoring the efficiency of the PSU (the way xbitlabs has been testing for years I might add). So the fact that they were using an 880W PSU has absolutely zero bearing on their readings.
    Granted, it's still a shame that these boards couldn't have been tested with something like a pico psu, and I do agree the article could have been better (for instance, how much noise does that tiny fan on the ECS board actually make? apart from an easily missed remark in the conclusion nothing is said about it), but it's not as bad as you people are making it out to be.
  • Anato - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    I'm worried about Anandtechs reputation and objectivity of AMD reviews. As a reader I can say from the text when the article is about AMD even if I hide all the product names and technical words. The wording is different and the questions put up are doubtful. Also focus is put to things where product is not intended to.

    Then there is benchmarks where always there is this "magical" Intel on top of the chars, but no word about the setup (mb, cpu, memory) costing 3 times more. Words from Atom review: "When the Atom first appeared I immediately did my best to characterize its performance."

    Next big thing is that there is no Atom on the chars, why? No wonder Core i5 2500K beats up the E-350, but why is it not put to power chars?

    PSU, if you don't have the gear to test then don't publish misleading results instead. Never have seen this happen on Intel, like "We only had one DDR3 Dimm"

    Last two points go to GF 580? Who would put this to Atom/E-350 board? And again no Atom around "holding GPU back".

    I really appreciate what you are doing in SSD-front and many other areas but for me this review isn't right.
  • duploxxx - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Official Hudson D3 TDP = 7.8W, doesn't mean it actually draws that much power.

    so pls change power draw to TDP....
  • Spivonious - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    The first one looks like it has great potential for an HTPC build. Stick it in an ITX case with a fan to exhaust the hot air and you have a quiet, powerful, and small HTPC. Reply
  • SanLouBlues - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    The DirectX 11 patch for Crysis 2 is out now. Reply
  • Vepsa - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I'm considering a Hudson board for my home server (probably the ECS one to be honest) and I'm wondering if the SATA/eSATA ports support port multiplier technology. If they do, the would be just about perfect for me. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Until I have seen two or three reviews on the Internet who don't try to give a wrong impression about the power consumption of an AMD system based on E-350.Even myself, and I'm not a pro in this domain I have a 200W power supply who gets much better results than the you've used. Reply
  • ckryan - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I love the ITX form factor. I love it's limitations. I love the necessity of axing the dead weight -- no PATA, no PCI, ect. Graphical UEFIs are great, and I'm ready to do away with the trusty old BIOS. So there isn't much to get in the way of, even if the E-350 isn't the hottest of the new hotness. Thanks, Ian, for an excellent round up. It's easy for motherboard reviews to get lost in the shuffle, and this roundup is worth the read. Reply
  • onlineaddy - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    So, what's the author's conclusion/recommendation? Is any one of the three worth our hard-earned $? Reply
  • Rick83 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    First of all: 100Mb LAN test was a waste of time/space, especially the graphic.
    A Gbit LAN test on the other hand might have been interesting, as these small computers can be used as thin clients, relying heavily on low latency and high troughput.
    Also, the processor time graphic should have been for Gbit LAN, as pushing 8MB/s over a line is not nearly as taxing as doing the same for 80 MB/s (buffering a movie off remote storage, loading a user profile during log-in, etc)

    The performance graphs seemed to me to be an excercise of futilty, dedicated to measuring noise. Three identical chipsets and three identical cpus would not diverge beyond noise in the clock generator.
    The conclusion is also way too performance oriented.
    The Zotac isn't bad because its performance is middling or because it lacks overclocking. As a passive design, overclocking can be safely ignored anyway, and a socket 1156 board can be gotten in miniITX size that will blow this out of the water, at a similar cost.
    What is wrong with the Zotac, is that there are plenty of issues, that have arisen during testing.
    Not as bad as an unstable UEFI image, but the lower than average usb-performance, the latency spikes - those can be really annoying.
    And, frankly, the ECS, including VGA? That's a bit archaic...
    I think performance for platforms that are not performance oriented is not really the most important point, even if that's what you're used to.
    In general, for mainboards performance isn't the most important factor. Build quality, stability, software and features are far more important, as is the quality of the onboard non-PCH hardware, like sound quality, WLAN performance, LAN performance, quality of the VGA outputs, memory compatibility and many other things that sadly don't get covered in main board reviews.

    I'd be glad if more relevant (perhaps only to me) factors for purchase decisions were to feature in future reviews.
    And please test that ASUS Gene-Z soon, pretty please?
  • IanCutress - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Hi Rick,

    I'm always open to comments or alternative tests that could be run - updating the test suite is always in motion as and when what is required. Bare in mind that as we're individual reviewers at AT, we don't all have access to the appropriate gear for testing right away. If you've got any suggestions, you can email me from my name at the top of the review.

    All the best,
  • triclops41 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I think Starcraft 2 benchmarks should be included. It is a popular game that can run well on mid and lower end systems.

    I know it can almost run at lowest settings with the E-350 at stock. But I would really like to know how well SC2 runs when the E-350 is overclocked to 2.1Ghz, considering it was CPU limited before.
  • Phynaz - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Not single test doing video decode and display = fail. Reply
  • Finally - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link are taking a Bobcat APU (that's made for netbooks, HTPC and other low power usage devices) and test it on ground of performance by pairing it with a 1000W power supply. (Ian was clever enough not to mention his batshit crazy choice by simply stating "Silverstone 80+ Silver" on the hardware page - a quick check on reveals that there are only 4 power supplies that fall into this category, starting @ 700W and going up to 1000W ->
    To further add insult to injury he then pairs this netbook APU with a Nvidia 580GTX only to finish this ridiuculousness for good with overclocking the shit out of the CPU...
    Come on? What will be tested next? How far the SoC can be thrown when it's raining?

    The thing I like best on AnandTech is how your pro-Intel-agitprop is actually brought to words: "Hudson-M1 - why would I want it?" - Imagine this same question being asked when Intel's Atom platform is the topic of the day... mark it well, because that will be the moment hell freezes over...
  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    You're wasting your time. AMD will never get a fair shake on this site, not going to happen. Every notice how there is never a situation where a "mistake" or other choice accidentally gave AMD an unfair advantage? Why is that? Because these choices are on purpose, and are carefully selected to minimize the AMD product as much as possible, while still trying to maintain the appearance of impartiality.

    This site is a shill of Intel, and the only reason people don't believe that is because it's a hard thing to accept. But the evidence is overwhelming. At one time, there was an entire section of this website dedicated to only Intel, anyone else remember that?
  • Broheim - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    if the reviews bother you that much, then why do you come back? is your life really that empty? Reply
  • medi01 - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    Somebody has to compensate for shit in articles at least in comments. Reply
  • Broheim - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    if "somebody" is dissatisfied, then "somebody" can go make their own hardware review site and review stuff like "somebody" wants to...

    in the meantime, "somebody" doesn't have to "compensate for shit".
  • IanCutress - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    As I've mentioned, the PSU issue is purely due to what I have available for testing. The GTX580 test, also as I've mentioned, was to provide a plausible maximum ceiling in those tests, and to explore the CPU power with the PCIe x4 against the iGPU. Regarding overclocking - there are people who will overclock everything and anything, regardless of what it's used for. In my mind, it's a valid test - if the platform has headroom with no negative consequences, that's something to look out for, and which to a certain extent the ECS board provided.

    I'm neither pro-Intel or pro-AMD. I review what I feel is right for the time and situation, and what circumstances allow. We have a series of 9-series boards to look at in the near future, but so far this year all the releases for me to focus on have been Intel based, especially in the motherboard segment. The comment regarding 'why would I want it' was the exact speculative comment I made when the boards came through my door. It's what I ask every board that passes through my hands - if a reviewer didn't ask this, there would be no point him or her reviewing it.

    I'm more than open to suggestions by email if there are other tests you think should be added. If there is time and an apt reason to run them (and everyone will be able to interpret the results), I will take a look - the development of testing is always fluid.

  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    In the interest of full disclosure and proper review procedures, please correct the chart to indicate the make/model/wattage of the power supply, instead of simply "Silverstone 80 PLUS Silver". Reply
  • andymcca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    ^^ This.

    And honestly, it should be noted clearly, in plain sight, that power consumption figures are totally meaningless at <5% PSU load.

    It's fine that this is the only PSU you have on hand, but (lacking DC power figures, which obviously require special equipment) a low power PSU, preferably a PicoPSU (with a decent brick) or equivalent, is the only reasonable choice here for power testing. Under-loading a PSU can give very misleading results, which deserve a footnote.
  • andymcca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    My bad, missed this on page 11 during my first read-through. Reply
  • tvarad - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I understand your compulsions, but it's like taking a Smart, testing it like a Ferrari and then critiquing it. That's not quite what AMD had in mind on how it intended the board to be used (I own Intel stock, so this is not about taking sides). I have the Asus board and I am using it with a tiny brick that puts out about 47W and powers a Pico-psu 120W 12V-25V wide input range power supply. It's function is as a HTPC/Video Server, hence I have just a 2TB WD HD attached to it, with an external removable media drive. With 2GB Gskill Eco Ram and a 140MM fan, it never goes above 40W when booting up and idles at around 22-23W. With 1080P mkv content play, the consumption goes upto about 30W. I don't plan to overclock it. I'll go out on a limb and say that my rig is more representative of how the board will be used in the real world.

    BTW, the square thingies on the pico-psu (at least the model I'm using) jut out onto the second dimm slot rendering it useless. Something you may want to watch out for.
  • triclops41 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Easy there, Finally,

    There are things to criticize about this review on benchmarks chosen or other technical details, but I have not seen any pro atom or anti brazos bias by Ian, or anyone else at Anandtech. Maybe some bias towards synthetic benchmarks, that Intel often wins, but that has more to do with the constraints of hardware reviews, not allegiance to some producer.
  • Finally - Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - link

    Well said. I still really wonder, why there are so many encoding benchmarks here. After all - how many people actually do encode videos? I've never done so my whole life and don't intend starting to. The funny thing is that these are usually the benchmarks where the press is deriving their ridiculous high speed advantages of new Intel CPUs from...
    If someone came along and said that this "advantage" is completely lost on them, those CPUs wouldn't be that great, because real world game fps are almost always very close to each other...
  • corporategoon - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I don't really have any comments on the benchmarks or thoroughness or balance of this article (seems fine to me) but this is one of the most poorly-written articles I've ever seen on AnandTech. Anand has a serious problem with sentence fragments but most articles that appear on the site are reasonably well-written. The opening paragraph is borderline unreadable. Reply
  • new-paradigm - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    Ok, I may be being dense, but I cant seem to find if any of these boards offer video and sound through the HDMI port? Reply
  • jrs77 - Thursday, July 14, 2011 - link

    I've got two miniITX Atom boards. A Zotac IONITX A-E and an ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe (both sporting an onboard PSU with a 90Watt powerbrick !!!). Both of them do work like a charm and I'm even capable of playing MMOs (EvE Online) on them in low settings. They draw some 35 Watt from the plug in the wall under load.

    So why there's no comparison to the Atom-ION boards as they're the direct competition and on the market for a few years now allready?
  • stmok - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    While the overall article is OK, it just doesn't have that usefulness of your typical Anandtech article in some areas that make it stand out.

    For example:

    Why did you not include the ECS solution alongside the ASUS one for the overclock part on page 15?


    What about assessing noise?
    => Sure, you have the two passive mobos, but how loud/quiet was that fan cooled one?
  • futurepastnow - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Looks like the big heatsink ASUS uses is mostly for show since the much smaller one on the Zotac board puts it to shame. Reply
  • beginner99 - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    ... of bobcat. In the forums you can read it having trouble with 1080p sometimes especially flash. Not ideal for a htpc. The GPU part is mostly useless for a HTPC or NAS. Also these mini-ITX boards are pretty expensive and mini-ITX + core i3 doesn't cost much more and would also not use much more power in idle/normal usage but better max. performance for like flash (HTPC) or Software RAID 5 (NAS).
    Especially for a NAS the price difference is minimal because any small case with lots of HDD bays is pretty expensive.
  • mschira - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I find it hard to believe how calmly the praises for the 33% overclock are. Just face it the Lano platform can use all the speed it can get, and that 33% sounds healthy enough.
    At 1.6 I think Lano is slightly underpowered, at 2.1Ghz, well slightly less i.e. not anymore.

    It hard to understand why AMD isn't coming up with a 2Ghz variant of Lano. I fact I find it very concerning. It looks as if AMD is just not determined enough to compete with Intel.
  • Rick83 - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    E350 is not Llano.
    And mini ITX E350 is not meant for overclocking and performance.
    Thus I find this to be a bit of a non-feature. Better to get a passively cooled 32nm Intel S1156 Pentium, if you need more performance.
    As far as I know, the only drawback this level of performance has, is when flash movies at extreme settings are played. While this may be important for some, it's not needed in a general browsing/mail machine that does the odd office application. Nor in most home cinemas, where local mkvs or disks are played.
    Yet for this overclock you give up on passive cooling and instead get a tiny, and presumably relatively whiny fan. Not worth the hassle.
  • AmdInside - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I have an older ITX case I would like to continue using and it puzzles me why almost all of these mobos use a 24-pin connector when there are so many ITX cases with a 20-pin connector. Reply
  • andymcca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Does anyone spend money on WHS for NAS? Seems like a waste. (Don't get me wrong, I see some reasons to get it if text scares you and you are doing something more complicated. And have money to burn. Or live on a pirate ship.)
    RAID is supported in the Linux kernel, and is better than any junky fakeRAID a motherboard might provide. And with 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports, this makes a damn fine NAS!
  • andymcca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Though the lack of 1000 Gb/s ethernet is sad :( Reply
  • andymcca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I'd settle for 1Gb/s :) Reply
  • Rick83 - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    which all of these boards have. Reply
  • burpnrun - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Firstly, the author starts by positioning the AMD CPU/boards in a HTPC context. Then promply forgets any consideration of a HTPC role. Not one video/encoding/decoding/transcoding benchmark. Instead, "games" and "computational" benchmarks. WTF? I'm wondering, is this guy competent?

    Secondly, as other posters have commented, the author's/article's power consumption measurements are so outlandish as to be laughed at. I mean, seriously warped versus reality. Incompetence (and determined reluctance to remeasure/fix) is brashly showing through at this point.

    The coup-de-gace of this idiotic review, though, is the inclusion of a Nvidia 580GTX for games, a role the Brazos CPU/Chipsets are not positioned towards. A 580GTX? In a 4x PCIe slot? And there are problems? WOW. I wonder why? At this point I concluded that not only was the author totally incompetent, but the motive of the article was also highly suspect.

    Until Arnand cleans up this stinking pile of pseudo "review", I'm not coming back here. I'm not a Intel or AMD fanboy, but this is such an incompetent, biased, purposeless (or was there a mission here that tried to be masked by "review" status?) article that a line has to be drawn in the sand against outright c*rap "reviews" like this.

    Anand, you should be ashamed to even have this piece of junk on your site!
  • ET - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    If this is the worst review you've read in 15 years, uou must not read a lot of reviews, so your threat of not coming back probably means that the next review you'll read in five years will be on another site. If you really want, I can point you to a lot of other sites with worse reviews.

    Not saying that this review is perfect, but come on, lots of other reviews of the E-350 have done exactly the same things, and some of your issues are nit-picking. Would you had been happier if a lower end discrete card was put in the PCIe slot? Putting a very high end one just illustrates how CPU bound this platform is.
  • AnandThenMan - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    "lots of other reviews of the E-350 have done exactly the same things"

    Post the links, I'd like to read them. Thanks.
  • ET - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    Here are a few links to E-350 reviews using a desktop PSU. Not a comprehensive list by any means:

    And of course Anandtech's first review of the platform:
  • ET - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    In the conclusion you say about the ECS: "Having 33% free of anything is usually a good idea, so when it comes part of the package with very little increase in power consumption, it is a good thing. As a result, all the benchmarks and all the games had much, much higher scores than the other boards we tested."

    Unfortunately these gaming performance figures don't appear in the article. This looks like an oversight that needs to be corrected.
  • Mitalca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    I second that.
    Through the review there's a lot of times when Ian talks about the marvell the ECS did with the 33% OC. Then why you didn't show the results?
    One of the bigest flaws in this review, that make a lot of people suspect of a way-too-much-biased review.

    Testing with a 580 is ridiculous, even if you want to "provide a plausible maximum ceiling". I spend $500 and I only get 50% more frames. What about a U$ 50-100 gpu?? If the CPU and the memory are by far the bottleneck, we should see similar results.
    And, once you show the huge benefits that overclocking does to the iGPU, why not try it with the dGPU?
  • ET - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    The main thing I would like to see added to the discrete GPU test is an AMD GPU. The CPU usage of NVIDIA and AMD drivers are different, so results may be different.

    I don't think that a discrete GPU is worth using with the E-350 in any case, and the test with the GeForce 580 pretty much proved that. It's just too CPU limited.
  • xorbit - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    This review is a steaming pile. At least it lends credibility that Anandtech might not be biased, just woefully incompetent.

    An HTPC review without HTPC benchmarks and coupling the chips with impropper PSU/GPUs.
  • silverblue - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Without wanting to start a huge squabble, if you guys think you could do better... Reply
  • lestr - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Tom's already did: Daily Hardware 7/6. 8 boards with more relevant tests though somewhat incomplete.

    My big question is: WHAT is AMD afraid of? SUCCESS? AMD fanboy but when they could really kick a** they give us another "almost".

    Another question: Does the PCIe slot support anything other than graphics? Can I stuff a Hauppauge 2250 or a Ceton card in it? This is totally ignored on almost ALL current ITX boards. You're about as likely to win the Kentucky Derby with a 3-legged horse as playing any games on this platform. What's the point?

    The E450 (1.65 / 1333 / HD 6320) is due out any time. Standards on this platform should include 6 audio outs (hello Asus!), mPCIe, fp USB3.. how about DUAL channel memory? What's a few more watts anyway? Is 35W APU too many? RAID?

    I wish AMD would pull out all the stops and do this little thing right.. entice the partners as well. If they can't do anything else but bury Atom/NV ... AMD needs to win something sometime.. why not NOW?

    Any comments, Ian?
  • mino - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Brazos is sigle channle.

    There are 35W Llano E2 series APU's on the way.

    Brazos is SOLD OUT for 3 quarters allready ... talk about AMD being afraid ...
  • medi01 - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    Idiot detected. Reply
  • Wander7 - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Just by looking at the two heatsinks and not doing any measurements, it looks like the Asus' heatsink is suffering from air stagnation because the fins are too close together.... Reply
  • CZroe - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    Regarding the Asus board not having HDMI1.4, you never seem to confirm that the others do or don't. have it. Should I assume they do or don't?

    "...and a Wifi card with a pair of antenna"
    Antennae is the plural of "antenna." ;)

    You wonder about the VGA reference in the Asus board's BIOS, but other boards clearly include a DVI to VGA adapter. Even if the Asus board doesn't include it, it could be referring to that unless it is DVI-D only. Does it support a VGA adapter?

    "how overclocking effects gaming"
    "Effects" should be affects.
  • Akdor 1154 - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    Given these boards are clearly pushed at the HTPC usage scenario (HDMI, TOSLINK optical outputs, one of the most powerful onboard GPUs ever made, passive cooling, etc) it is very disappointing to not see any of this functionality tested out.

    How did they perform decoding video? Given the high CPU usage on network utilization, is there any issue playing high bitrate content from a NAS somewhere else? Can I encode? How did the GPU perform on OpenCL tasks (namely, again, content encoding)? Can the PCI-E slot take a TV tuner? What about Flash, if only for Youtube? How about upscaling low-resolution content?

    And for the love of God, given two passive and one active cooling setups, how did they fare in a REAL case? Don't know many people who run their HTPCs in open-air, and the nice small cases available can be quite restrictive in terms of airflow - so will the passively cooled boards even be suitable for these? How about fan noise? It would seem Zotac and ASUS went passive because of noise concerns, so how bad was the ECS's little 40mm fan?

    What about WiFi performance? You complained about one only supporting HDMI 1.3b; did the others support 1.4 (and hence 3D) perfectly? Did you test this? There was an issue with Windows' audio buffer latency - it would have been great to see this actually tested out to see if it made any difference, instead of a vague "some people might be able to hear it". Did the problematic board skip at all?

    Summing up the lack of insight in the way this review was carried out.. <b>did you even test Blu-Ray playback</b>?

    I'd love to see this information added to this review - I'd also be interested to know how many people you think would purchase this intending to run Metro 2033 on it.

    And finally it seems your comment form is broken in Opera.
  • evolucion8 - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    And the odd thing is when they were testing its IGP performance with Metro 2033, calling it "the Crysis of DX11 until Crysis 2 arrives, so Crysis 2 haven't been released yet? Mishmash of old and new sentences of old articles glued together. Pretty much the same thing that apoppin does on Allienbabletech and his horrible lack of focus and handbacked marketing propagandism.

    Plus the fact that the review has a lack of objectivity as it isnt compared to its direct rival the Atom/ION combination. I wonder who will stick a GTX 580, play games or will use it for WinRaR archiving. Atom and Fusion aren't powerhouses, are CPU's for very basic stuff and HTPC and they would had done tests in that arena, like web browsing tests, movie playback, Flash tests, USB and HD performance etc. Totally irrelevant, how low can this go?! Definitively one of the worst reviews I've ever seen.

    Overall, a HTPC oriented system tested with unconventional tests against much more expensive and powerful solutions. It is like taking a Ferrari and test its performance under water and in outerspace and comparing it against the Columbia Shuttle and Navy's Nuclear Submarine. Things had gone under spiral lately and integrity has been long gone in here, a pity.
  • PR3ACH3R - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    @ Ian Cutress
    Thanks for the review,
    I think you touched upon a few important points like thermal performance, but as a whole, this review leaves a lot to be desired.
    it is incomplete, & fails to address what the target audience of these products, wants to know.

    Did this review help me decide what board to buy for HTPC use?
    I'm afraid not.
  • Ichinisan - Sunday, July 31, 2011 - link

    It's pretty clear why the Asus BIOS mentions "VGA." The Asus and Zotac boards have DVI-I connectors, so they have extra pins for analog and work with a VGA adapters. Reply
  • dakky21 - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    I registered on this board just to say that... not ALL boards have overclock function !!!!

    I just bought HDC-I v1.0 yesterday, in fact only because I read it had overclock option, but what a cold shower - it does not have. At least not where it should be, under Frequency/Voltage control in BIOS.
  • dakky21 - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    To clarify, my board has BIOS version 2.10.1208 (03/24/2011) and there is NO Turbo Mode in Frequency/Voltage control. No way of getting around 33% more speed. Unfortunately, I bought this board just because of that. Never again trust reviewers or ECS... Reply

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