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Gigabyte E350N-USB3 Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

AMD's Fusion technology has worked out well for the company in 2011 and many vendors have reaped the benefits by including this platform in their mini ITX motherboards and netbook offerings. Gigabyte found room in their product line to feature this chipset in its GA-E350N-USB3. We received one of these boards for review to see how it stacks up against other E-350 mini ITX boards available today.

 

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Courtesy of Gigabyte

 The GA-E350N-USB3 can be purchased for around $89.99 (after mail-in rebate from Newegg) and includes an AMD dual-core E-350 1.6GHz processor with an integrated Radeon HD 6310 GPU and support for USB 3.0, SATA3, and a PCI-E x16 slot for add-on video cards or other PCI-E devices. AMD developed the Brazos platform to directly compete with Intel's Atom and NVIDIA's ION technologies for the top slot this year's netbooks, notebooks, and some entry-level desktop solutions.

Read our full review of the Gigabyte E350-USB3 motherboard!

 

Technical Specifications (taken from Gigabyte's website)

CPU
  1. Built in with an AMD E-350 Dual-Core processor
  2. Built in with an AMD Radeon HD 6310 (DirectX 11) graphics core
Chipset
  1. AMD A50
Memory
  1. 2 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8 GB of system memory * Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
  2. Single channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 1333(OC)/1066 MHz memory modules
Onboard Graphics Integrated in the APU:
  1. 1 x D-Sub port
  2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200 * The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connector by adapter.
  3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200

* For configuring screen resolution, please refer the user manual- Chapter 1 Hardware Installation of Back Panel Connectors section.

Audio
  1. Realtek ALC892 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for Dolby Home Theater
  5. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 1 x Realtek 8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
  1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4
    (The PCIEX4 slot conforms to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
Storage Interface FCH:
  1. 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices

* SATA3 2x performance are maximum theoretical values. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.

USB FCH:
  1. Up to 8 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

Renasas D720200 chip:

  1. Up to 2 USB 3.0 ports on the back panel

* USB 3.0 10x performance is a maximum theoretical value. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.

Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  4. 1 x CPU fan header
  5. 1 x system fan header
  6. 1 x front panel header
  7. 1 x front panel audio header
  8. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  9. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  10. 1 x debug card header * This port is mainly used by repair technicians for debugging and problem diagnosis.
  11. 1 x chassis instrusion header
  12. 1 x power LED header
  13. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse port
  2. 1 x D-Sub port
  3. 1 x DVI-D port
  4. 1 x HDMI port
  5. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  6. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  7. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 1 x RJ-45 port
  9. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
  1. ITE IT8720 chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System fan speed detection
BIOS
  1. 2 x 16 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
  4. Support for Download Center
  5. Support for Xpress Install
  6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  7. Support for EasyTune * Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
  8. Support for Smart Recovery
  9. Support for Auto Green
  10. Support for On/Off Charge
  11. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP
Form Factor
  1. Mini-ITX; 17.0cm x 17.0cm
Note * GIGABYTE reserves the right to make any changes to the product specifications and product-related information without prior notice.
Remark
  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
  2. Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.
  3. Minimum 200 Watts power supply is suggested on this model.

 

 

December 12, 2011 | 01:57 PM - Posted by trick (not verified)

Can this thing handle source games? css, dods, etc

December 12, 2011 | 02:44 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It all depends on your settings and resolution, but I would say YES it can play them at something like 720p with moderate quality settings.

December 14, 2011 | 10:06 AM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

It should be able to play those. I didn't try those two games when I had my E-350, but it did play Portal 1 and 2 at 1920x1080. 2 was barely playable at that resolution on low-medium settings, but 1 ran better (20-30 FPS).

December 12, 2011 | 03:58 PM - Posted by tedknaz (not verified)

Would this board be able to record a couple of shows at once to WMC with a ceton cablecard tuner?

December 12, 2011 | 04:32 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

That is a little hard to say with certainty without having that hardware here but I would tend to say yes for dual streams. What software would you be running it on?

December 12, 2011 | 08:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why no media file tests? Seems a large oversight to not test HD Netflix, 1080p MKV files, SOMETHING! How would this board work if actually used as an HTPC?

December 13, 2011 | 05:34 AM - Posted by Tricky0502 (not verified)

I agree with above, most people will be using this as an HTPC. Some HD playback test would be nice.

December 14, 2011 | 07:22 AM - Posted by Luke (not verified)

yes i would like to also see some hd play back tested as i would love to get ahold of one of theses boards for a htpc on board hdmi at 1080p and windows 7 media center with 4 tv tuners would like to see how would hold up?

December 14, 2011 | 10:25 AM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

I bought this motherboard back in March and used it until last month as my HTPC, so I'll give a quick overview of my experience with it.

Gaming: I ran a few games on it at 1920x1080, low-medium settings. It performed better than I thought it would. I played the following games on it:

Portal 1/2
Trackmania United
World of Warcraft

Video/HTPC: The fan on it is near-silent, even at 3500 RPM. More than a foot or so away from it, it's inaudible. Video playback worked fine with XBMC, and I was able to play 1080p MKVs with no dropped frames, and low CPU utilization (Make sure to enable DXVA in XBMC settings!). Netflix in Firefox worked fine for SD content, I think HD/720p was okay as well but I didn't check for sure. YouTube 1080p was straining it quite hard, but 720p was fine.

Power consumption/overclocking: Using the included PSU with an Antec ISK300-65 case, it idled at ~24w and loaded at ~34w. This was with 2x2 GB G Skill low-voltage DDR3-1333 @ 1333, 7-7-7-21, 1.38v; and a 250 GB/7200 RPM Samsung 2.5" HD.

As for overclocking, it topped out at 1.73 GHz for me as well.

Hope this helps :).

December 14, 2011 | 10:28 AM - Posted by Thordrune (not verified)

Whoops, forgot to mention I played Live for Speed on it as well. It ran that at 35-50 FPS.

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