Biostar Launches Mini-ITX A68I-350 Deluxe Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | September 10, 2012 - 09:29 AM |
Tagged: mini-itx, htpc, fusion, biostar, APU, amd, a68i-350 deluxe, a68

While Intel has gotten a lot of Mini-ITX love lately, AMD is not out of the game yet. Motherboard manufacturer Biostar recently launched an AMD Fusion APU powered Mini-ITX motherboard that would make for a nice little HTPC. The A68I-350 Deluxe is based around some of the latest technologies including support for DDR3, PCI-E 3.0, and USB 3.0 standards.

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The A68I-350 Deluxe motherboard measures 17 cm x 17 cm and comes with a bundled dual core AMD Fusion 350D APU. A heatsink and passive cooling for the south bridge are also provided in the package. The graphics card, memory, storage and other accessories are up to you, however. The Mini-ITX board features two DDR3 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 16 GB. Located in the lower right-hand corner are three SATA 3 6Gbps ports. Below that is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot for a graphics card or other peripheral. Additional internal IO includes:

  • 1 x printer header
  • 2 x USB 2.0 header
  • 1 X front panel audio
  • 1 X front panel header (hdd, power, reset, ect)
  • 1 x S/PDIF-OUT header
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x system fan header
  • 1 x serial header

According to Biostar, the motherboard also uses all solid capacitors to improve longevity.

Rear IO on the board is not quite as extensive as some of the other offerings available, but is still fairly good for the price. It features two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, one HDMI out, one VGA output, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit controller), and three audio output jacks (Realtek ALC662 6-channel HD audio).

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The AMD APU that comes with the A68I-350 Deluxe features Radeon 6310 graphics, which are not the fastest but will still provide plenty of oomph for watching videos on the big screen. While it has not yet shown up at online retailers like Amazon and Newegg yet, it is reportedly already shipping and will have an MSRP of € 66 (euros) or approximately $84 USD. Considering the Intel options that have recently surfaced are going for $100+ easily, this Biostar motherboard should provide a nice budget option for your next HTPC or small form factor PC build!

You can find more information on the A68I-350 Deluxe over at the Biostar website.

Read more about Mini-ITX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Biostar
September 11, 2012 | 11:30 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why are they still including PS/2 ports?

September 11, 2012 | 02:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Because lots of OS still have USB peripheral problems (especially on boot) and adding more USB ports just for these devices puts more of a load on the southbridge. More power draw, too, when these devices are in use.

Also when trying to cut the price for a whole system, PS2 ported mouse and keyboard is still substantially cheaper - like under $5 for a very high resolution optical mouse whereas USB ported devices can be $10 or more.

Finally if you want a mouseless keyboardless system, it's a lot easier to just not install drivers for USB mice and keyboards than it is to prevent them from being installed (and plugging and playing) at run time. This is more secure. Attaching a PS2 device after startup will usually crash the box - it will not generally be recognized. So it's just that much harder to get unauthorized mouse or keyboard access for display or HTPC applications in uncontrolled spaces if the only supported mouse and keyboard are PS2 not USB.

That said, it sure would be nice to see a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) port, even at 100megabit, either to power the device or to power a chained device (wireless AP, security camera or webcam, VoIP phone). Also to see the power supplies for these include IEEE 1901 powerline (HomePlug) out of the box. Either PoE or 1901 could as much as double the network capacity from one gigabit to two under IEEE 1905.1 home networking, and make the whole connection much more reliable. With both, power and network could fall back to one of two different power or wired data sources, which is muy reliability.
Also these protocols are increasingly used for rackmount devices where mini-ITX is really going to sell a lot of boards longer term.

So when they ditch the PS2 connectors I'd like to see that extra RJ45 or two (one input, one output), and 1901 supported on board.

September 11, 2012 | 04:59 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Indeed, Power over Ethernet is cool, though I'm not sure it would be enough if you added a GPU. Going with internal graphics though... maybe. One option would be to get one of those splitters (hmm actually I think injector is the right term?) to add power to the Ethernet line and then just before it hits the box have a spitter that takes the power into a DC power supply and the Ethenet networking stuff to the RJ45 port. Kinda clunky, but might work. I was looking into taking the Cat5e cables the house uses for phone line and using it for networking but realized there is no power outlet near the junction box where all the Cat5e cables from all the rooms comes back to.. and switches with PoE built in are expensive so I was looking at injector+splitter solution and it seems to be cheaper, if a bit clunkier (if that's even a word heh).

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