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  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    It is a good one, huh? Perfect for HTPC. Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    However, G530+H61 would be another choice, or I could say, a better option. Reply
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I got this thing combined with 4 gigs of ram, a crucial m4 and a damn silent be quiet! power supply. Installed linux on it and BAM; you got yourself a snappy and silent desktop/htpc with a "can do" attitude. I don't think a SB Pentium is going to give you anything extra that can justify the noise compared to this little f*cker. Hehehe. Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    SB pentium can offer much better CPU performance. Reply
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    that's obvious. but if you compare functionality, fusion is the better option imo. SB pentium might be the faster cpu, but the gpu in fusion handles movies a bit better as far as I know. and pentium is not that much faster to justify the noise, heat and power use. to be honest, you better get an i3 2100 or so, not that more expensive and a way better cpu. anything else in this segment is a waste of money. waddayou think? Reply
  • HakkaH - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    dunno where you can get an i3 and mobo at the same price though here it's impossible.

    Besides that Ati has one gigantic plus for HTPC enthousiasts. It can pass through full 5.1 audio through the HDMI connection. Intel lacks this option.

    It's strong enough to be used as a home server as well. It's not that you'll crunch with it 24/7.

    Really I found the AMD Brazos platform to be far more versatile than many think. I use it as a small webserver for my own photo portofolio and testbed for new stuff, my HTPC uses and various other things.

    Just know the boundaries of the platform as in It's not a CPU monster and you'll find the Brazos platform to have a lot more than many probably think. I'm at least very happy with it which explains that I have now both an E35M1-Pro for almost half a year and an Lenovo Thinkpad X121e.
  • ven - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link

    I wish there is no clashes between Intel and Nvidia.Bless the ION.combination of best&best Intel will take care of x86 & media encoding and decoding will taken care by Nvidia. Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    No passive cooling = no thanks.

    SB is not appropriate for HTPC.
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    IMO, you can undervoltage the SB celeron or pentium so as to use passive cooling. SB celeron is much cheaper than this APU. Reply
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    okay, interesting. I like your style.

    but what about intel's problems with some video playback?
    how much is the passive cooler going to cost?
    how low do you have to go performance-wise?

    but, most of all; the average user will not be capable of this kind of system tweaking.

    but I really do like the idea! sounds like a fun way to get through a boring sunday.
  • frilans - Saturday, December 03, 2011 - link

    Sandy Bridge can be passively cooled to safe temperatures under load. We have Intel Core i3-2105 (TDP 65W) processors in our office computers. I have built them with no moving parts in the H3.S case with passive cooling from HD-Plex (

  • duploxxx - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    much cheaper? the lowest priced mobo and the lowest price celeron will only get you in the same price range.

    not to mention the way higher TDP and I would love to see some GPU performance compares.
  • medi01 - Sunday, October 30, 2011 - link

    SB celeron + motherboard is NOT "much cheaper than this APU".
    Stop spreading FUD, Intel fanboi.
  • plonk420 - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    you can take the fan off just fine. ran for half a day like that.

    just to be nice, i put a PWM 120mm fan over it in the htpc case. can't hear it nor the PCP&C Silencer currently over my fridge running across the room.
  • davos555 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    It is good for basic tasks - However I had one and it stuggles to play back HD video content - the hardware decoding doesn't work in linux media players because of lack of drivers. Apparantly it works best in Windows media players such as MPC but I havent test this! Reply
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    use xbmc. works great for me. Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Yeah, SB will get much more ppd if you are crunching BOINC. Reply
  • futurepastnow - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Great board for HTPC- unless you want to play modern 3D games on your TV. Then you'll need to step up to something with more CPU and graphics power.

    Also looks like it would be great for a home server, or a family member who only surfs the web and watches videos (that covers a lot of people).
  • mepenete - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    runnin AMD for graphics? Nothin but trouble if you're in Linux. Reply
  • gevorg - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Couple of questions:

    1) Can this thing FLAWLESSLY play high bitrate HD 1080p from a hard drive or blu-ray disk?

    2) How good is the 23.976 playback?
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    1, If DXVA 2.0 works FLAWLESSLY , it works.
    2, It is good.
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    1. Yes, it can. Even 1080p flash (on windows) is kidsplay for fusion.
    2. Way better then Intel's. I run linux and I get some glitches, but those are really really rare. Under windows there are no problems at all.
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    2, If you use cpu to decode high rate files, it will have obivous glitches. Reply
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    it's not a cpu problem. the ati linux drivers are not that great lately, so uvd3 support is still a bit problematic. but as I said; the glitches are rare. some movies get none, others get 1 or 2 in an hour. they are not annoying or even that noticeable. and yes, I checked my codecs :-) the main problem with the ati drivers nowadays is bad support for gnome-shell/gnome 3. artifacts al over the place. haha. but that's not really relevant to this article. Reply
  • plonk420 - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    it's not high bitrates that have issues, it's retarded settings that go out of Level 4.1 specs, like 16 reference frames @ 1080p.

    i just wish this was ~20-30% faster and 1/4th the GPU speed. it's just ever so slightly too slow for Spline scaling in ffdshow, IIRC.
  • Meegulthwarp - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Nice to see a power supply that reflects what most people would be using with this setup. It would be interesting to have a comparison between this 250w and a 1000w to see if all the haters were correct.

    Once again, nice review. Currently looking for a HTPC for my new flat. Just worried AMD might release a refresh of Fusion when I buy one. Anyone know if there is a refresh on the horizon?
  • spaceyyeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    The E-450 is coming. Higher CPU and GPU clockspeeds (cpu: 1,65ghz gpu: 508mhz with 600mhz turbo) and a better memory controller supporting 1333mhz. But you can do that with this board too, by just selecting it in the bios.

    Other than that, you'll probably have to wait for a process shrink.
  • Meegulthwarp - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Thanks, I thought I saw that but couldn't find it. Might just mull it over and give the E-350 a pass for the time being. Reply
  • lestr - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Ancient history folks. Asus has updated to the 450. Boards have been available in Asia and Europe for weeks now. Slight bump to 1.65 and RAM std upped to 1333, OC 1600. No idea how it would test out - hasn't been done yet. Can't understand why they only have 3 analog audio outs on the rear. BIOS tweaks? who knows.

    I sent an e-mail to Anand 2 weeks go asking him to get Gary to send one over... Oh well.. we'll see who gets it first. Nice try and a good re-introduction.
  • silverblue - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I'm very interested to see if the extra memory bandwidth does anything for the HD 6320 or if it runs out of steam, in which case AMD would've been right to only include a single channel memory interface. Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    No, because 80sp is really really too weak for gaming. Reply
  • C300fans - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Even if a 800sp card, GDDR5 128bit is far enough. Can you tell the difference between HD 6790 and HD 6770? I could say, you will probably notice more on the price. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    The difference here is that the memory interface is shared by both the CPU and the GPU. It's not all about gaming, but the actual effective use of what's on offer.

    However, being a geek at heart, I wouldn't mind seeing what the turbo mode plus more memory bandwidth would do for light gaming as well as if the E-450 is only a tiny bit faster than the E-350 even with the extra bandwidth.
  • duploxxx - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    its already been tested, between 5-10% more perf in general tasks with same consumption. Not bad at all for a small update. No graphics tested yet
  • lestr - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Lap top/netbook review, does not equal desktop especially in a "review" that is a mere single page, maybe two, max. The 350 OC's to ~1.8 +/- and with memory upped to 1600 on a 6320 graphics core the results might be more interesting especially since folks are only now beginning to understand how to OC an APU properly. Drop the mult, crank the FSB for graphics and raise both to stable. That noted, it's certainly not about gaming but over all performance. 80SP's isn't much but more power/speed wouldn't hurt, now would it? 160 would be great. Maybe CPU can get to 2.0 or greater...

    Also promised are reviews geared more toward HTPC use rather than gaming... that's like trying to take out an elefunk with a BB gun. Not much point in even going there.

    Actually I am more interested in what is going to replace the M50 - 350/450 line - Jan? For now it looks like they're trying to deplete 350 inventories before bringing the 450 here. Even so, a lot of people would like to know.

    thanks it's nice to see the interest.
  • rburnham - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    This board seems too big for an HTPC and too underpowered for a gaming rig. Most people I know who use their computers for basic things (web browsing, spreadsheets) already have laptops and they prefer the portability over a desktop. I am not sure where this board fits in. Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    This board is actuall;y great for HTPC for a very important reason - there are people who actually _need_ more than a single PCIe or PCI slot ...

    But otherwise, the real target would be cheap PC's for kids, secretaries and the like.
  • jrs77 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I'm owning a Zotac IONITX A-E (used as NAS/webclient), an Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe (used as HTPC) and a Lenovo Thinkpad x121e E350 (for travelling and whatever). All of them are basically the same when it comes to powerconsumption and they're all up to the task of playing Full HD-media.

    People will allways moan about the low-power CPUs of those systems, but if you don't do anything else then browsing the web and playback some media, there's nothing to complain about really. These systems even run older games perfectly fine, or they make for a good system to run a second client for EvE Online, etc.
  • Geofram - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    In windows, will it stream Netflix without a problem?

    I used to have a Atom based HTPC, and HD content on Netflix wouldn't properly use the GPU acceleration, and hence, it wouldn't play smoothly. Something in the Silverlight acceleration didn't detect and use GPU for everything, and would fall back to CPU. So I'm more worried about that than I am about if it will play a Blu-ray, yet it's something I never see checked.
  • RayMort - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    This is exactly what I need to know too. My 6 year old PC with an AMD 3500 dual core processor can't decode Netflix HD streaming for the same reasons. I want to upgrade, but I want to be sure it will do Neflix HD before I purchase. Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    IF not in a hurry, you better wait for a dual-core E2-series Llano. Reply
  • UrQuan3 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    I wish I had tested Netflix. 1080p youtube and 720p crunchyroll play fine, but flash has hardware acceleration on the E-350.

    Since I've gotten several 'free' Nexflix offers, maybe I should test it.
  • jacob733 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    What about the other SATA channels? It's nice to see throughput with a single SSD on a single channel, but all sorts of other effects come into play if you load all channels at once. For example my H55 board can be saturated even by LP class magnetic HDDs if I load all 6 channels due to channel sharing of some kind. Would be nice to know as apart from HTPC then E35M1-M Pro also looks perfect for homebrew NAS. Reply
  • firsthour - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Anyone have any experience running a FreeNAS box off this? I like the idea of the low power along with 5+1 SATA. Max 8GB memory is my only concern that I can think of, considering how hungry ZFS is.

    Anything else I should be concerned about? Is it worth waiting for an E-450 release?
  • mino - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    AM3+ along with X2 240e is a far better choice for FreeNAS or simmilar
    - ECC
    - excellent FullATX mobos with a bunch of slots for RAID/NIC's
  • fubird - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    can I use i3-2100T and thermalright HR-02 to build a fanless system? Since I need 2 HDMI port and and the trend is lossless music file is becoming larger and larger, I don't think APU can handle that for a long run. That's why I prefer SB, but 0dB noise is a must. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Why not test some older or less demanding games instead of Metro 2033 and Dirt?

    Both these games are clearly unplayable on this platform, so does a frame per second or two really make any difference?

    Maybe try Sims 3, or Half Life 2, or KOTOR or Mass Effect, WoW or something. I cant think of any more specific games that might be actually playable, but I am sure there are a lot of games from the 2005 or so era that might still be fun and actually playable on this system.
  • Fradelius - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    totally agree, testing crysis on this is not a wise idea

    wow on the other side.. works!
  • silverblue - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    E-450 would mean a small improvement though not necessarily anything really measurable.
  • TSnor - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    Article says "The operating system is installed on the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD, which is rated at up to 550 MB/s read and up to 520 MB/s write, and the sequential test is run at the 5 x 1000 MB level on a separate clean partition. "

    BUT this doesn't work on a sandforce based SSD. The SSD does not respect partition boundaries, it pools all the flash memory to maximize performance and minimize wear. Write speed especially is a function of the size of the data PREVIOUSLY written to the part of the SSD that will be reused. Depending on whether or not the drive was previously written with large block writes (128K, 256K) or small (8K or less) block writes a sandforce controller can see a 2X write speed difference.

    Net, I would not give much value to the comparative results of the SSD testing. The differences are probably not SATA port related.
  • hackztor - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link

    I have the non pro version and after 2 months the nic died. I sent it in to asus repair and they said they repaired it and its still dead. Going to return it to newegg. The problem when the nic dies is their is only 1 slot on the non pro and that is used by my sata card stuff. Reply
  • ven - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Nobody is going to use a discrete graphics card with this board i don't know why all the manufactures uses x16PCIe slot.I was greatly surprised to see the presence of the slot for the first time before i came to known it was working in x4 mode.And also i don't think apart from video card there is no other PCIe card which extends that much length. Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Because it is really PCIe x4 slot and why not give you a full PCIe x16 instead of limiting user choices needlessly ? ... Reply
  • Mugur - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    Nice review, but I was waiting for an E-450 review... :-) At least in Europe, there is an Asus model widely available. Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    In one instance you talk about being "well within statistical variance", in another, you make it sound as though a .31 fps difference (which amounts to 1% deviation in this case) is grounds to separate the devices used
    Either you go all the way (and are wrong) and don't mention statistical variance and treat every result you have as being 100% perfect. Or you do take into account standard deviation and variance and don't make a 1% difference into an actual difference.

    Otherwise, a good board and a good review. :-)
    Though I still think a small Llano or a small Corei3 maintain the better package and don't really cost that much more. Cooling can be handled silently as well.
  • Daedalus454 - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    I just upgraded my home server to this board last night. I'm running two Debian VMs on Xen. The E-350 is the fastest low-power system that I'm aware of which supports virtualization - AMD-V in this case. Atom based boards do not support VT-x. The extra slots on this particular board are nice as I need the PCIe x4 slot for my RAID controller, and this board gives me an extra x1 slot to add a second NIC if I need to do so in the future.

    The old system was a Brisbane Athlon 64 x2, I don't recall the speed. With the E-350 board performance is quite good. My VMs are running well and SMB transfers are quick.

    The reason for my switch was that the old system pulled about 95 watts idle and 135 watts normal load and generated a lot of heat. That got uncomfortable since the server lives in my bedroom closet. The new system draws 65 watts full bore. Both systems include a Dell PERC5/i RAID controller and 3 1.5TB hard drives in RAID5. Xen doesn't seem to be very good about switching power states on this board however. I might need to adjust some settings on my Dom 0.
  • EVRE - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - link

    My friend who lives off the grid just build one of these.
    His setup:
    Crucial 120gb m4 ssd
    8gb of standard 1333 ram
    sata dvd rw
    DC DC 80w power supply from 12v corded brick (looks like an xbox 360's)

    His idle power consumption is 16-17 watts at the wall with a Kill A Watt.
  • fluxtatic - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link

    For those who say go cheap on a SB system, consider that then you end up with some crap Biostar board. Here, you're getting an Asus (it seems to swing either direction, but they are one of the largest for a reason.) If you could build a comparable SB system on a decent board (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI), then maybe we're have a real debate. YMMV, but I would never recommend a cheap knockoff MB to save a few bucks on system like this.

    As to the x16 slot, I have come to the conclusion that it's a cost thing - a company like Asus is going to be buying the x16 slot connectors by the truckload, making the cost nothing. They're not going to get nearly as good a deal on open-ended x4-sized connectors, given that they would likely only be used on these Fusion boards (how often do you see dedicated x4 slots?)

    I picked up a Sapphire Pure board in the spring, building a NAS/HTPC/server sort of thing...had I known that it wouldn't be done by now (waiting on the final finish for the scratch-built case), I would have waited...mine was $140, as I recall, was one of 2 that had 5 SATA ports. I almost bought this Asus, but it was a decent amount more then - $170 or so.

    When it gets down to it, the Brazos platform outdoes Atom in everything but power consumption. If you look at Atom+Ion, they're closer, but Brazos still has a bit of an edge, and Ion brings the power consumption up to comparable levels, too. Face it - on this front, AMD finally has a winner. Cold comfort for those of us who waited (and waited) on BD, but there it is. Now I'm waiting for the Krishna core next year - I might just build two new boxes on that if AMD keeps up what they've done with Brazos so far.
  • Aries1470 - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link

    Hmm... I looked in the comments and also selected the print version too, it is shown in the picture of the back panel, it was even left out on page 3, board features.
    Why is that? I guess some people would still be interested in ieee-1394a.
    It is also on the Asus' website:

    one on the backpanel and one on the board too ;-)

    Ok, end of rant :-)

    Nice and informative article. Thank you.

    Now to wait for the review of the Zotac ZBOX Mini-PC. This has the Via cpu, and is a great alternative to the Intel Atom too, and for Watt to Watt, might actually beat or be similar to this board.

    Info on some of their Via Nano and Nano X2 boards here:

    Just search the site.

    So Brendan, any idea when to expect an Atom vs Nano X2 vs AMD E or C series?
  • Aries1470 - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link

    p.s. I Forgot to mention that although it is capable of blue-ray etc it is only a DX9 that they have paired it with. They did not use the other options that S3 provide for at least a DX10.1 Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link

    Nano X2 is a very promising technology, but reviews (and comparisons) have been somewhat lacking thus far. Unlike the 65nm single core variants, these are 40nm, and from looking at them in comparison to the E-350 and Zacate, they're the fastest, if only slightly ahead of the AMD part. It would be good to see VIA and AMD do well in this market.

    There was a look here in the Brazos review:

    There's a video here of the 4350's power consumption and video playback:

    Here's one of the 4650 quad core variant:
  • Aries1470 - Sunday, October 30, 2011 - link

    Hi silverblue,

    Just wanted to say thank you for the links. Would have been great in the brazos review if they also had the power consumption, not just how powerful it is ;-)

    Great youtube links too.

    Just didn't know that the Nano X2 was better than the Brazos. You hear all about AMD but nearly nothing about VIA.
  • UrQuan3 - Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - link

    After Via sold S3 (their graphics group) I have heard very little from them. They had a good looking chipset in the works, but we probably won't see it now. I'm actually tempted to ask for one of the engineering samples like the one Anand reviewed. Reply
  • Finraziel - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Used this board's little mini-itx brother, the E35M1-I, in a build for my mom a while ago... Built into a mini-itx case with laptop power supply, a 500 GB WD Blue drive and a slimline DVD burner, along with one 120mm scythe fan (the slim version so it would fit), and it only used just over 20 watts in idle... Of course, it's not quite the same board, but I'm still guessing that 250 watt PSU is still pretty inefficient.
    My mom's completely happy with this system btw, she browses the web, plays some casual games, some minimal office work, and for that kind of usage this system offers plenty of power. Also with the 20-25 watt power draw, it doesn't matter that she never turns her PC off.
  • Harry Lloyd - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    How come this board has eSATA, and NOT ONE FM1 board does? Reply

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