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Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Preview

GA-350N-USB3 hardware features

  • AMD E-350 APU (1.6GHz, 18W)
  • 'Hudson' M1 southbridge (sub 5W)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics core (80 stream processors)
  • 3-phase CPU power
  • Four SATA 6Gbps ports
  • PCI-Express 16x slot (4x electrical)
  • Two DDR3 1,333MHz slots (single channel)
  • HDMI 1.3b, dual-link DVI-D and d-sub (dual digital outputs supported)
  • Two USB 3.0 ports (NEC) and on/off charge
  • Six USB 2.0 ports (four rear I/O, two pin-outs)
  • Realtek RTL8111E Gigabit Ethernet
  • Realtek ALC892 7.1-channel surround sound, with S/PDIF out
  • Dual-BIOS
  • 3 year warranty
AMD Zacate mini-ITX Motherboards Preview Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Preview AMD Zacate mini-ITX Motherboards Preview Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Preview
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The motherboard's layout is generally neat, but the SATA ports might be quite difficult to access from behind the PCI-E slot if it's in use, and the same goes for the USB pin-outs nestled by the heatsink. The platform can theoretically support 14 USB 2 ports, although only six are included on this board. Likewise, Gigabyte has only opted to include only four of the possible six SATA 6Gbps ports.

It's also worth noting that the full-size PCI-E graphics slot only has four lanes, because that's all that can be dished out by the E-350.

On the plus side, the rear I/O is packed out, featuring all the common display outputs. The board even squeezes in a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and 7.1 surround sound with an S/PDIF output making it a great choice for a home theatre system.

The AMD APU doesn't support stereoscopic 3D output, since it only meets the HDMI 1.3b standard, rather than 1.4, but we're told that it will play 1080p video while only using 20 per cent of the CPU cores' resources. In fact, this board could potentially form the backbone of an HTPC and NAS combo box, with four SATA hard drives and a PCI-E TV tuner.

AMD Zacate mini-ITX Motherboards Preview Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Preview AMD Zacate mini-ITX Motherboards Preview Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Preview
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The GA-E350N-USB3 should be available for about $150 US (£96), which might seem like a lot of money, but it's worth remembering that you won't have to buy a CPU for it.