Having been one of the greatest vendors of branded motherboards during 2012, Gigabyte is eagerly expanding its collection, with everything from high-end platforms to, in this case, small form factor models.The new mainboard that Gigabyte has launched is the E350N-WIN8, featuring the mini-ITX form factor suited to HTPCs, low-end PCs and home servers.
As some may have already guessed, this is one of those platforms with an integrated processor.
The exact chip is the AMD E350, an accelerated processing unit (APU) designed on the Zacate architecture.
It has two x86 cores (64-bit), each working at 1.6 GHz. It also has an integrated Radeon graphics chip, (a Radeon HD 6310D DirectX 11 GPU to be precise, with 80 stream processors).
Furthermore, the APU can handle a maximum RAM capacity (random access memory) of 16 GB.
It is unlikely that buyers of a low-end mainboard would have any intention of getting so much memory, but nevertheless, the two RAM slots are there and waiting (standard-size 240-pin DIMM slots).
Storage-wise, Gigabyte implemented four SATA 3.0 Gbps ports. No SATA III, sadly (SATA 6.0 Gbps).
Furthermore, the connectivity capabilities are actually extensive, even if USB 3.0 is conspicuously absent.
There are eight USB 2.0 ports (four back panel, four via headers), a PS/2 (mouse/keyboard), and a serial RS232 (COM).
Finally, Gigabyte tossed in two video outputs: D-Sub (VGA) and HDMI (with 7.1-channel digital HD audio).
As for cooling, there is a sizable fansink on the accelerated processing unit (fan+heatsink), plus a smaller one on the A45 FCH chipset. It goes to show that the FCH serves a much smaller purpose than chipsets used to, now that CPUs and APUs integrate most of the system's primary functions.
The E350N-WIN8 is run by AMI UEFI BIOS and even benefits from Dual-UEFI redundant BIOS technology (failed BIOS updates can be reversed). It will be sold for under $100 / 100 Euro.