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With the socketed version of Kabini formally announced by AMD, motherboard manufacturers are in full swing in announcing their line up to AMD’s budget range.  AMD’s goal is to get the Kabini platform to $60 for motherboard and processor, which cuts into motherboard margins and does not often leave much room for innovation.  ASRock is doing something a little different on one of their motherboards which is worth a closer examination.

AM1H-ITX

First up is the AM1H-ITX, a mini-ITX motherboard that is equipped with two ways of implementing power.  Users can either use a traditional power supply, or use a DC-In jack that draws power from a standard 19V laptop power adaptor:

In terms of small form factor systems, this removes the need for a bulky internal power supply (or even a pico-PSU) and changes into a console-esque arrangement, reducing the volume of the chassis needing to house the system.  The motherboard itself supports two DDR3-1600 DIMM slots, a PCIe 2.0 x4 lane, a mini-PCIe slot, four SATA 6 Gbps ports (two from an ASMedia controller), a COM header, a TPM header, four USB 3.0 ports (two via ASMedia), Realtek RTL8111GR gigabit Ethernet and Realtek ALC892 audio.

AM1B-ITX

The AM1B-ITX is another mini-ITX product, this time including a parallel port, four SATA 6 Gbps (two from ASMedia), four USB 3.0 ports (two via ASMedia), Realtek RTL8111GR gigabit Ethernet and a Realtek ALC662 audio codec, putting it on a lower price point to the AM1H-ITX.  There is no DC-In jack here, nor a mini-PCIe slot; however there is a PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, a COM header, a TPM header and dual DDR3 DIMM slots.

AM1B-M

The other product in the lineup is a micro-ATX offering which seems very stripped down to provide all but the basics.  Alongside the two DDR3-1600 DIMM slots are two SATA 6 Gbps ports, two USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO, a VGA port, a combination PS/2 port, a Com header, Realtek Ethernet and ALC662 audio, a PCIe 2.0 x4 slot and a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot.

ASRock is expecting these models to be available from 4/9.  I am awaiting information on pricing and will update when we get it.

Source: ASRock

Product Pages: AM1H-ITX, AM1B-ITX, AM1B-M

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  • meacupla - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    On paper, $60 for CPU+mobo sounds nice, but I would be more interested in a $50~60 mITX FM2+ or LGA1150 board.

    mITX for Kabini is too large.
    Reply
  • Drummerdude - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    So, if you're running a 19v adapter to power the motherboard, what's powering the rest of the computer, like your hdd, dvd/bluray drive, etc? Reply
  • Medallish - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Just checked the manual. It's kind of hard to see on the above picture but if you look closely between the ATX and Sata ports there is a Sata Power connection, I'm guessing that you get a cable for atleast two(hopefully 4) Sata devices. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    There is a SATA power connector on board - ASRock will bundle a one-to-many cable with the motherboard. I am just asking ASRock how many devices can be done via this method, will update when I have this information. Reply
  • Adding-Color - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    @IanCutress - off topic

    I have just sent you a mail proposing an improvement for the anandtech podcast, please have a look at this mail.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I'm not in charge of the Podcast, you'll have to get hold of Anand for that :) Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    That probably depends more upon the power draw of the devices as it will only send a certain number of amps per 5v and 12v line. For reference, I usually see this sort of setup used on Thin Mini-ITX boards like ASUS's Q87T, but those boards also include a ton of extras for use in embedded setups like eDP and LVDS, which this doesn't have. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    ASRock have told me that the SATA power should power one device, maybe two depending on power draw. So if you need an ODD, that limits storage to PCIe or mini-PCIe cards. Reply
  • colinstu - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Very cool (with the psu on-board) this isn't anything new but it is very rare and should be done more often. Picopsus have existed for years but their development has pretty much stopped. It's very easy just to build one of those directly on board too.

    Ditching the optical drive and using a mSATA drive... would have a truly compact system w/no need to use extra power/sata cables. Hopefully ASRock creates an LGA1150 version as well as other mini-itx mobo makers.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Assuming the price is right this could do a lot better than a pico-PSU. The cheaper pico PSUs all need 12V bricks which are expensive; the picoPSUs that can use a cheap 19V brick are significantly more expensive because they need large DC-DC converters. If ASRock designed the board to create all the assorted low voltages needed by various components directly from 19V instead of with an intermediate 12V level they could save a lot just by having fewer voltage converters. OTOH the fact that they've also got a standard ATX hookup makes me think they might just be converting 19V to 12V at input and feeding it into a standard power distribution setup. Reply

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