After using the HDC-I, and running it through our bench suite, I was presently surprised.  It has one awesome feature that other products don't have - a BIOS option that applies an automatic 33% overclock.  So instead of having a dual core 1.6 GHz, we've got two cores at 2.13 GHz, which actually makes a lot of difference.  There are some design flaws though, such as the position of the front panel headers, there's nothing to hold the wifi aerial, and I had some issues playing HD video smoothly.  This board is a combination of adequate, with one particularly awesome feature.

Visual Inspection

With this mini-ITX board, as we've got active cooling on the heatsink, the heatsink is small compared to the ASUS beforehand.  This should, theoretically, give more space for other additional bells and whistles on the board.  However, aside from the front panel and the audio headers, there are only two USB headers.  These are all on the bottom left of the board, potentially making them awkward in a case.

The Front Panel audio could be especially tricky to deal with, depending on the case or and PCIe card you are using.  The PCIe slot can support a 16x card, but will only run at 4x speeds, like the ASUS, which leads to disappointing results later in the gaming test suites when I overpower this board with a GTX 580.

The SATA ports are in the corner of the DIMM and PCIe slots - here we have four SATA 6 Gbps all native to the chipset.  Beside this in the corner is a couple of lights - one to confirm power to the board and another to confirm the board has been switched on.  In terms of fan headers, there is one at the top of the board, next to the clear CMOS header, but no others.

The I/O panel is one of the more feature rich of the ones being reviewed today, but that is in part to using active cooling (which on the ASUS board takes up the equivalent of a DVI slot) and that there's nowhere to set the wifi antenna in to.  Nevertheless, there are HDMI, DVI and VGA outputs on the rear, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optical S/PDIF out, audio input/outputs, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA 6 Gbps port.

ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe: Features, In the Box, Software ECS HDC-I: BIOS and Overclocking
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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.

    Ian
    Reply
  • 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.
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-e...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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 Anandtech.com to publish these misleading reviews?
    Reply
  • 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

    Seriously?

    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?

    Shameless...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply

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