Jun 24, 2013

Asus AMD Brazos fanless motherboards

Until recently if you wanted a low power chip solution for a netbook or nettop Intel and the Atom range was your only real choice. But then AMD caught up and released its new Fusion line, putting a CPU and GPU on a single chip. The result was an Atom competitor with some serious graphical horsepower on board. The other benefit was the very low power requirements for the chip.

Asus is taking full advantage of AMD’s E-Series (Zacate) platform and the accelerated processing unit (APU) which only requires 18 watts of power. What this has allowed for is a new line of smaller motherboards that are free of fans.

The Asus E35M1 motherboard series is now shipping, and comes in three editions:
  • E35M1-M
  • E35M1-M Pro
  • E35M1-I Deluxe
For the most part all three models are very similar offering the same dual core processor, FCH A50 Hudson M1 chipest, Radeon HD 6310 GPU, and support for up to 8GB of RAM. The differences seem to come from the connectivity options included on each board and the form factor.

The base E35M1-M board only hasUSB 2.0 ports, but somehow manages to fit 14 of them on the board. Moving to the Pro edition you get two USB 3.0 ports and 12 USB 2.0 ports. The Deluxe gives you four USB 3.0 ports and just 8 USB 2.0 ports.

The other big difference is the form factor. Both the E35M1-M and Pro editions are Micro-ATX boards. The Deluxe takes the platform even smaller and fits everything on a Mini-ITX board. In all cases the total power consumption of the board is a very respctable 36 watts. At the same time these boards are more than capable of powering a a HTPC on a large HD display.

Which board you choose depends on the case you want to use. For us, the Mini-ITX board looks ideal as it’s offering up the same silent Fusion hardware in the smallest form factor you can get. That gives you the option of a very small case to hide away, or even connect to the back of your monitor.

Full details of each motherboard in the range can be found on the AMD CPU on Board section of Asus’ website. In terms of pricing you can expect to pay around $130 for the M model, $150 for the Pro, and $200 for the Deluxe edition.


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