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Asus has AMD Fusion mini-ITX in development

Asus has AMD Fusion mini-ITX in development

AMD's upcoming Ontario APU will be integrated into a desktop mini-ITX board made by Asus. Image used is our artists interpretation only.

Just a quick titbit for small form factor lovers: in our meeting today with Asus, the company revealed that it's designing a mini-ITX board (which will probably be home theatre-orientated) with AMD's first low-power Fusion chip, Ontario.

We previously reported on leaked data that the upcoming AMD APU's performance equates to roughly that of an Athlon II X2 250U, but with a DirectX 11 graphics chip built in and all in just ~18W TDP. When we asked Asus about performance, the team refused to provide any details on the subject.

If Ontario does provide a low-power CPU that offers decent performance and actual graphics horsepower, we'll finally have an Intel Atom and Nvidia Ion alternative in the mini-ITX market. This could make SFF PC market exceptionally interesting, and open up a whole new opportunity for home-theatre machines – depending, of course, on the price. We asked Asus about the possibility of Eee PC HTPCs, and the company explained that it was still early days and it was evaluating all opportunities.

Are you interested in an AMD Fusion mini-ITX board? What features would you like to see on it? Let us know your thoughts in the forums!

45 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
frontline 12th August 2010, 11:51 Quote
Will be interested to see a review of this, if price/performance is right i might be tempted.
l3v1ck 12th August 2010, 12:02 Quote
I'd be more interested in Fusion laptops. More power than Intel graphics for media and basic games, but better power efficiency than anything AMD offer at the moment, at lower costs than dedicated graphics..
mi1ez 12th August 2010, 12:27 Quote
Looks pretty awesome!
Yoy0YO 12th August 2010, 12:41 Quote
If this could be slapped into a notebook, great battery life with decent performance with videos & data.. this will be a dream come true. (and price)
REMF 12th August 2010, 12:51 Quote
"Are you interested in an AMD Fusion mini-ITX board? What features would you like to see on it?"

Yes, finally a decent alternative to Atom, which is utter pants, and mostly a waste of money.
MSHunter 12th August 2010, 12:56 Quote
Those heat pipe endings out the back look interesting. I hope we wont need extra EXTERNAL cooling.......
WildThing 12th August 2010, 13:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
Will be interested to see a review of this, if price/performance is right i might be tempted.

Yeah can't wait for the review, I'll be espcially interested in the capabilities of the GPU.
stonedsurd 12th August 2010, 14:09 Quote
If it's got more performance on the CPU side than Ion, I'm sold. Ion was sorely let down, even by the Atom 330.
sear 12th August 2010, 14:12 Quote
I really don't get all the Atom hate. It's not very fast, but for netbooks I think it fills its niche just fine, and you can't argue with seven hours of battery life. I'm definitely waiting for something better to come along, and Fusion might be it, but Atom still has a future ahead of it if Intel can reconfigure it for, say, smartphones or embedded devices.
Sim0n 12th August 2010, 14:14 Quote
Screw the CPU/GFX.

How many SATA ports will this bad boy have. One think lacking from the Atom breed of boards is the capability of an all-in-one fileserver, 4 ports, or 6 would be better.

Heres hoping.
l3v1ck 12th August 2010, 14:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by REMF
Yes, finally a decent alternative to Atom, which is utter pants, and mostly a waste of money.
VIA Nano?
Evildead666 12th August 2010, 14:28 Quote
Yay, very interested ;)

Can't wait for the review.
Denis_iii 12th August 2010, 14:29 Quote
that M/B is soooooo awesome :) hope it has PCIEx16 2.0 onit so I can attach a 5870 to it. Even better an Asus Ares lol classic teeny m/b with huge ass gpu
Evildead666 12th August 2010, 14:57 Quote
This looks a lot like the Atom variant they had at computex, with only 2 Sata channels...The fusion logo is very well placed to cover the actual name of the board in the piccy above ;)

http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/06/01/asus-shows-new-mini-itx-boards-computex/

Hopefully the Fusion variant will have a little more.
REMF 12th August 2010, 14:59 Quote
"I really don't get all the Atom hate. It's not very fast, but for netbooks I think it fills its niche just fine, and you can't argue with seven hours of battery life. I'm definitely waiting for something better to come along, and Fusion might be it, but Atom still has a future ahead of it if Intel can reconfigure it for, say, smartphones or embedded devices."

Atom is ok for consuming media (and only just ok), but it is truly terrible at any productivity of content creation tasks. This lack of performance is compounded by typical netbook screen resolution which is insufficient for mainstream apps and games, e.g. minimum of 768 vertical resolution.

Atom will do fine in the embedded arena, in cash registers and digital Tv boxes, but something better is needed if you want to do some computing with your computer.

Fusion might be it.
TWeaK 12th August 2010, 15:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSHunter
Those heat pipe endings out the back look interesting. I hope we wont need extra EXTERNAL cooling.......

At a TDP of 18W I doubt that's going to be an issue. Looks boss this
simonw 12th August 2010, 15:59 Quote
It's good to see Asus taking more interest in ITX products. Will look forward to see how it performs when it is released.

As a side note, for those who want something better than Atom but staying with Intel, I think Zotac are planning an ITX ION board running dual-core CULV SU2300 (http://twitpic.com/1t5jme).
Bindibadgi 12th August 2010, 16:02 Quote
Sorry that's NOT a picture of the board. It's just there for illustration.
Evildead666 12th August 2010, 16:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Sorry that's NOT a picture of the board. It's just there for illustration.

Awwwwww. That Heatsink looks really good ;-)
Tho with 18W dissipation as stated above, it wouldn't have to be thaat big.
Thats the ION/Atom combo then, that makes way more than 18W...
Bindibadgi 12th August 2010, 17:21 Quote
Quote:

That it is - I picked up one today for review :)
HourBeforeDawn 12th August 2010, 17:42 Quote
wow Bindi, if the computer market was a religion (to some it is lol) putting an Intel/nVidia image to represent the AMD/ATI would be consider sacrilegious lol, I mean when you think about it, it is sorta a slap to the face =p

Anyhow if this is aimed for the HTPC market then I pray it has better onboard audio then standard boards.
DBA 12th August 2010, 19:15 Quote
I would be very interested if this had an onboard PSU.
Small sub 100 Watt PSU are very hard to find and expensive, and it really isn't working with an ITX board and an ATX PSU.
sandys 12th August 2010, 20:02 Quote
Just replaced my Atom notebook with a cheapo 15.6 notebook running a TF20 (1.6ghz K8) and HD3200, perfomance blows the atom out of the water despite being a single core chip clocked sloer, if this new chip is equal or better performing then that, it should be pretty good.
Burnout21 12th August 2010, 20:09 Quote
even though atom was really low power i've always had this feeling that its been hashed together, especially ION.

AMD's first quad core wasn't two dual core glued together under one IHS, it was a native quad, which means AMD tend to think more about the product than just releasing a half baked idea.

Intel got bloody lucky with the Q6600, but AMD's AM3 chips seem to really show there potential and this is why i think fusion will be worth while.
Scootiep 12th August 2010, 21:02 Quote
Interested? I'm not just interested, I'm friggan salivating here! I've been wanting to redo my current HTPC for quite some time and if the performance turns out to be as good as hyped, I'll snag one of these in a split second!
wiak 12th August 2010, 22:20 Quote
isnt some of the AMD Fusion products said to have Radoen HD 5500 Level DirectX 11 graphics?
should surely kick intels ass back to the stone age or wait, the good old HD 3200 is STILL faster than latest intel crapstics and is old now, mind you HD 3200 was the first igp to decode upto 1080p of all blu-ray video codecs since 2008 ;)

AMD even demoed a fusion chip some time ago that they payed Aliens vs Predator
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg5mKP5R8B8

AMD basicly puts all the shaders and stuff in Radeon HD 5550 Graphics card into a Athlon II or Phenom II CPU :p
Dragunover 13th August 2010, 00:39 Quote
I'd like to see this for a home theater possibility.. Much better than just straight TV
HourBeforeDawn 13th August 2010, 02:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragunover
I'd like to see this for a home theater possibility.. Much better than just straight TV

the problem with current HTPC all in one motherboard solutions is next to no attention is made for the audio side of the equation, ya they got the video down but the audio leaves a lot to be desired. I wish they would do a shielded on-board setup with say the highend oxygen chips, or better still although from the same company if ASUS would take and put their AV100 or AV200 (pretty much the same chip just hand picked) onto a motherboard solution would be great.
Evildead666 13th August 2010, 06:20 Quote
AMD should have the full UVD core in there with Audio over HDMI, and this image has an optical out, so I would expect no less on a fusion ITX board.
nicktg 13th August 2010, 07:09 Quote
This could be the perfect htpc board indeed. Some extra sata ports would be useful to people who use their htpc also as a server. I would also like a built in psu, some of Asus` Ion boards do feature one.
Nature 13th August 2010, 07:14 Quote
Hey bit-tech writers!

Please do an article on game mods(counter strike, Dota, etc)! I've never seen one here and It wou;d be interesting!

Sorry for the off-topic comment.
HourBeforeDawn 13th August 2010, 07:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
AMD should have the full UVD core in there with Audio over HDMI, and this image has an optical out, so I would expect no less on a fusion ITX board.

that is not a pic of the board, Bindi put it there as a filler, its an Intel ION board shown there, anyhow audio over HDMI sure but its not as gooda s it could be, not by a long shot, thats why it would be nice to see clean audio like offered in their Xonar highend line.
Bindibadgi 13th August 2010, 07:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
it is sorta a slap to the face =p

And I'm slapping it with something, that's for sure :D
Xir 13th August 2010, 08:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by REMF
"I really don't get all the Atom hate. It's not very fast, but for netbooks I think it fills its niche just fine, and you can't argue with seven hours of battery life. I'm definitely waiting for something better to come along, and Fusion might be it, but Atom still has a future ahead of it if Intel can reconfigure it for, say, smartphones or embedded devices."

Atom is ok for consuming media (and only just ok), but it is truly terrible at any productivity of content creation tasks. This lack of performance is compounded by typical netbook screen resolution which is insufficient for mainstream apps and games, e.g. minimum of 768 vertical resolution.

How is it Atom's fault that you want it to do something it's not been designed for? :?
It's a couchsurfer with 7-8 hours runtime.
You wanna run crysis or write a thesis, buy a computer :D
Evildead666 13th August 2010, 11:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
AMD should have the full UVD core in there with Audio over HDMI, and this image has an optical out, so I would expect no less on a fusion ITX board.

that is not a pic of the board, Bindi put it there as a filler, its an Intel ION board shown there, anyhow audio over HDMI sure but its not as gooda s it could be, not by a long shot, thats why it would be nice to see clean audio like offered in their Xonar highend line.

i know its an Ion board, see one of my posts further up. I was just saying, if the Ion board has it, theres no reason not to do it for a fusion board.

(sorry for off-topicness)
I was under the impression that Audio over HDMI is digital, quite like the Optical out.
i use optical out on the Integrated Soundmax audio of my Asus Maximus Formula (X38) and it is audibly very very good.

i do have a good Denon 7x100W amp, and very good Klipsch 5.0 speakers.
I noticed a very big difference using Optical, instead of Analogue outs on my Audigy 2 ZS, even with effectively an integrated Audio solution.

So for me optical out should be near perfect, and from what i've heard DTSHD and TrueHD are awesome.
I just wish i had an HDMI capable amp to try it out.

The integrated audio core in the ATi card is based on a Realtek design, but digital is digital, so the sound should be bit perfect every time.

that is what i have understood anyhow.
HTPCJunkie 13th August 2010, 16:54 Quote
I'm sure they'll offer HD Audio over the HDMI, but how they will do with the DRM is another story. DRM has always been the biggest hurdle for AMD/ATI. Others seem to have less problems, but I believe that is because they offer to include many of the obscure operations of DRM where AMD may not.

Who knows, but I damned excited about this type of MB!!

BT

PS: Of course it looks like the Asus Ion MB, Why wouldn't they use the same heatsink instead of having another one fabbed up? Geez!
HourBeforeDawn 13th August 2010, 17:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTPCJunkie

PS: Of course it looks like the Asus Ion MB, Why wouldn't they use the same heatsink instead of having another one fabbed up? Geez!

LOL for the last time, that picture is 100% NOT the AMD/ATI ITX board being discussed, there is ZERO pictures of that board as its in DEVELOPMENT. That is a picture of an ION ITX board that Bindi grabbed, slapped a fussion logo on it and called it the ATI/AMD ITX board. So how it will look and what it will have no one knows at this point.

Anyhow all Im saying is it would be nice if they upped the audio quality across the board from Digital to Analog as well.
wallyb132 14th August 2010, 03:30 Quote
This board looks good, we need more AMD options in the Mini-ITX space.

Although, something a lot of people dont seem to be aware of, the perfect Mini-ITX motherboard already exists! A little known gem of a motherboard maker J&W technology makes 3 AMD based Mini-ITX board, the first being based on the AMD 780G, the second is based on 785G and the most recent entry is based on the 890GX, its got USB3.0 sata 6.0, pcie 16x, 4 sata ports and mini pcie port for wireless... I think this board is possibly the perfect HTPC / portable gaming board...
Cthippo 14th August 2010, 03:48 Quote
I wish they'd spend the extra dollar and put gigabit internet on most or all boards. As has been mentioned before, I'm a big fan of mini-ITX / low power systems for fileservers and having to add a PCIe gigabit card, especially when you only have one slot to play with, is a pain in the arse.
alpha0ne23 14th August 2010, 05:17 Quote
Even though its an asus I'll still buy one on release day.................unless Gigabyte release similar

At last a true HTPC board that will be OK to leave on 24/7 without upping the power bill too much
Meaty Pete 15th August 2010, 23:03 Quote
18w tdp is what does it for me. passive cooling surely at that level meaning regarding the case its a 'case' of how low can you go profile wise. 'Scuse the pun. Long live HTPC!
Xir 16th August 2010, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
So for me optical out should be near perfect, and from what i've heard DTSHD and TrueHD are awesome.
I just wish i had an HDMI capable amp to try it out.

I do, and it says that DTSHD and TrueHD only works over HDMI as Toslink is limited in bandwidth...
That said, I don't hear any difference between "normal" digital surround and DTSHD :D
Bindibadgi 16th August 2010, 12:23 Quote
Toshlink like RCA is limited to AC3 5.1. You can use LPCM (? forgot the damn acronym) to output each channel individually in HD, or use HDMI 1.3 but it requires a compatible (expensive) decoder and even then it's all only as good as your speakers.
Xir 17th August 2010, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
...or use HDMI 1.3 but it requires a compatible (expensive) decoder
Well, every HDMI input 7.1 Amp really these days.
But you're right, to actually hear the difference you'll need more.
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