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Gigabyte E350N-USB3 Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review

Author: Steve Grever
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features, Layout, Included Extras

Features

AMD Dual-Core E-350 Processor
The new generation AMD Dual-Core E-350 processor with AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics (DX11) integrated for entry-level desktops continues to provide innovation through integrated graphics built directly into the CPU, enabling smaller and more energy efficient designs.

AMD A50 FCH
The AMD A50 FCH(Fusion Controller Hub) provides additional flexibility and upgradability with native SATA3 6Gbps storage interface and also expansion ability for USB3.0 and various features support.

DualBIOS™ 3TB+ HDD Support (Hybrid EFI Technology)
Hybrid EFI Technology combines the benefits of GIGABYTE's mature BIOS platform including stability and compatibility with 3rd party products with 3TB+ HDD support from EFI technology, allowing GIGABYTE to offer the best of both worlds through a quick and easy BIOS update using GIGABYTE's @BIOS utility that is freely available from the GIGABYTE website. 

GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ 
GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ is a patented technology that automatically recovers BIOS data when the main BIOS has crashed or failed. Featuring 2 physical BIOS ROMs integrated onboard, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ allows quick and seamless recovery from BIOS damage or failure due to viruses or improper BIOS updating. In addition, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ now supports 3TB+ (terabyte) hard drive booting without the need for partitioning, and enables more data storage on a single hard drive.

On/Off Charge Technology
GIGABYTE On/Off Charge technology allows you to charge your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch regardless of whether your PC is on, in standby mode or even off. A derivative of GIGABYTE's highly acclaimed 3x USB Power feature, On/Off Charge enables devices to draw more current from GIGABYTE motherboard USB ports than standard USB ports allow, so that charging from your PC can be as fast as with a charger.

3x USB Power Boost
GIGABYTE motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, delivering greater compatibility and extra power for USB devices. GIGABYTE’s unique USB power design is also able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops, and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery. 

SATA 6 Gbps Support
Yet another onboard feature is integrated the latest AMD A50 chip for high-speed SATA Revision 3.0 compatibility, delivering native superfast 6Gbps link speeds for twice the data transfer rates of SATA Revision 2.0 (3 Gbps).

USB 3.0 Support
The GIGABYTE motherboards support the latest generation SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology made possible through an onboard USB3.0 host controller. With superfast transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps, users are able to experience an almost a 10x improvement over USB 2.0.

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 features 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers which dramatically lowers system temperature by delivering a more efficient spreading of heat from critical areas of the motherboard such as the CPU power zone throughout the entire PCB. GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 3 also lowers the PCB impedance by 50%, which helps to reduce electrical waste and further lowers component temperatures.

Supports DDR3 1333+
Delivering native support for DDR3 memory up to 1333MHz, GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 series motherboards allow users to easily reach higher memory frequencies at lower voltages; achieving higher memory performance with lower power consumption to run even the most memory intensive applications such as high-definition video and 3D games with ease.

EasyTune6
GIGABYTE has completely redesigned EasyTune6 from the ground up to make it easier than ever to manage and monitor your hardware resources as well as tweak your system settings in order to achieve maximum system performance.

HDMI 1.3 certification, supports Full HD 1080P
HDMI is able to provide up to 5Gb/s video transmitting bandwidth and multi-channel high quality audio all through a single cable. Able to transmit superior, uncompressed digital video and audio, HDMI ensures the crispest rendering of digital content up to 1080p without the quality losses associated with analog interfaces and their digital-to-analog conversion.

 

Motherboard Layout

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The front panel of the retail box for the GA-E350N-USB3 features Gigabyte's standard marketing statements and showcases the board's USB 3.0 and SATA3 features. Gigabyte also chose to highlight their three-year warranty and Ultra Durable 3 technology, which should help entice consumers into considering this board for their next mini ITX upgrade.

 

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The back panel provides more detail about the board's USB 3.0 and SATA3 support as well as the GA-E350N-USB3's DualBIOS and AutoGreen technologies. The graphics are a bit busy on this panel, but still do a decent job of describing the board's key features in non-technical terms for noice to intermediate PC builders. 

 

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My first up close and personal look at the GA-E350N-USB3 was pretty pleasant because I can tell there was a lot of forethought put into the layout and design of this mini ITX motherboard. The board's SATA and front panel headers are well organized and leaves enough clearance for a mid-range graphics card courtesy of the lone PCI-E x16 slot. The large aluminum heatsink over the E-350 dual-core processor dominates most of the board, but Gigabyte was able to arrange the memory DIMMs and PCI-E x16 slot around it.

 

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The back of the blue PCB is ordinary and doesn't have any unique features to speak of.

 

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The back panel I/O connectors provide an ample amount of support for a variety of video and audio options. It includes a PS/2 keyboard, mouse port, D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI, optical S/PDIF out connector, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, and six audio jacks. This I/O bundle would be welcome in larger micro ATX and ATX motherboards and it's good to see that Gigabyte was able to include it on the GA-E350N-USB3.

 

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As I mentioned before, the GA-E350N-USB3 supports four SATA 6GB/s connectors directly on the PCB. It also has a PCI-E x16 slot that runs at x4 to make it compliant with PCI Express 2.0 standards.

 

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There are also two USB 2.0 headers that support four USB 2.0 devices. Our readers can also see the high definition audio header in the lower right-hand corner of the photo. 

 

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The two DIMMs support 8GBs of DDR3 1333 (OC) or 1066 MHz memory modules at 1.5 volts courtesy of the AMD E-350 processor.

 

Included Extras

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Gigabyte sweetened the deal by including two SATA data cables and a color-coded I/O backplate.

 

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They also added a driver CD and user manual to round out the "included extras" that come with the GA-E350N-USB3.

December 12, 2011 | 04:57 PM - Posted by trick (not verified)

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

December 12, 2011 | 05:44 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 | 01:06 PM - 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 | 06:58 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 | 07:32 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 | 11:21 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 | 08:34 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 | 10:22 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 | 01:25 PM - 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 | 01:28 PM - 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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