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ASRock A330ION Mini ITX Atom + ION Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASRock
Tagged:

Features, Layout, Included Extras

Features

   1. Intel®  Dual-Core Atom™ Processor 330 (1.6 GHz)

   2. ASRock DuraCap (2.5 x longer life time), 100% Japan-made high-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors

   3. NVIDIA® MCP7A-ION Chipset

   4. Supports FSB533 MHz

   5. Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1066/800 non-ECC, un-buffered memory, 2 x DIMM slots, Max. capacity up to 4GB

    * Integrated NVIDIA® GeForce 9 Series, DirectX 10 VGA, Pixel Shader 4.0, Max. shared memory 512MB

    * Multi VGA Output options: D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI

    * Supports HDCP function

    * Supports Full HD 1080p Blu-ray (BD) / HD-DVD playback

    * 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot

    * 4 x SATAII 3.0 Gb/s connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1), NCQ, AHCI and "Hot Plug" functions

    * 2 x Powered eSATAII/USB Connectors

    * Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s

    * Supports ASRock Instant Boot, Instant Flash, ASRock OC Tuner, OC DNA, Good Night LED

    * EuP Ready

    * 7.1 CH HD Audio (VIA® VT2020 Audio Codec)

    * Windows® 7 Logo Ready

    * Free Bundle : CyberLink DVD Suite - OEM and Trial; Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB - Trial

    * I/O Panel: 1 x VGA/D-Sub Port, 1 x VGA/DVI-D Port, 1 x HDMI Port, 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port, 4 x Ready-to-Use USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x Powered eSATAII/USB Connectors, 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED

Layout

 

The retail packaging for the A330ION is less than attractive, but does have a few icons on the front panel to showcase the board's ION chipset and Atom processor bundle. However, the overall graphics are very disappointing and doesn't really reflect some of the modern graphic design elements that are associated with typical hardware advertising.

 

The back panel of the retail packaging for this board is a little more information than the front panel, but not by much. They do feature the ION platform, OC DNA technology, and true Blu-ray 1080p playback support. It also discusses the board's energy improvements, which gives potential consumers everything they need to know to make an informed decision about purchasing the A330ION.

 

The dimensions of the mini ITX footprint doesn't leave vendors a lot of room for useless features and other components. ASRock expertly spread out many of the typical jumpers for SATA, USB and HD Audio that would be found on the bottom of ATX motherboards. ASRock moved the PCIe slot to the bottom of the board to ensure there was enough room for a full-size graphics card that didn't cover any jumpers.

 

The back of the PCB doesn't have any critical hardware features to mention.

 

The I/O panel on the A330ION is action packed with four USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, HDMI, PS/2 keyboard, VGA, DVI, Gigabit LAN, and 7.1 channel audio.

 

The MCP7A-ION supports one PCIe x16 slot that is more than adequate for those users wanting to adding better graphics performance to the A330ION.

 

Here's a close-up of the two USB 2.0 headers that support four USB 2.0 devices.

 

There are four SATA 3GB/s headers that support RAID 0 and 1, NCQ, AHCI, and hot plug functions.

 

The front panel display header is broken down into the power LED, power button, HD LED, and reset button jumpers. ASRock separated the usual speaker headers, which aren't commonly used nowadays, but still helpful to have for troubleshooting.

 

Last, but not least at all, is one of the key selling points of the A330ION -- the board's support for DDR3 memory. This board supports up to 4GBs of DDR3 1066 and 800. That's pretty awesome for a mini ITX board with an Atom 330 processor and ION chipset. 

 

Included Extras

 

The extra accessories bundled with the A330ION are pretty slim, but they included an I/O backplate and a Molex to SATA power adapter.

 

ASRock also threw in two SATA 3GB/s cables, which will definitely come in handy for any PC build you use this motherboard for.

 

Lastly, ASRock also included a well-documented user manual and driver CD. It's not a very flash bundle package, but to keep the price down they had to make some adjustments to the package of applications and hardware they included in the box with the A330ION.

 

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