ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Reviewajmatson - August 17, 2010
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Getting the board out of the box and anti-static bag you get a sense of the sexy design. This board just looks clean and well made. The layout is not overly crowded (even with the massive heat sink which covers about 25% of the surface area). The colors mesh nicely for anyone who places this in a case with a window. This is a mini ITX design and measures 6.75 inches x 6.75 inches square. ASUS has designed this board using their Stack Cool 3 technology. Stack Cool 3 is a design that uses 2 + 2oz of copper sandwiched in between layers of the PC Board. This keeps any heat produced evenly distributed throughout the whole board and cooler by up to 20% over traditional board designs. ASUS also employed a silent, fanless design for cooling the Atom processor and the ION chipset. The design also uses solid capacitors which offer longer life and stability.
The back panel offers so many connections you won’t ever be asking why something was not included, well maybe you will but it will be minimal! Starting at the top, there is the power plug, the antenna connection port, a single PS/2 port and six USB 2.0 ports. To provide the video out from the system there is a VGA port and an HDMI port for full 1080p playback. For the audio there is an Optical S/PDIF out port, a set of 2 channel RCA audio ports and the 6 channel analog audio ports. For connectivity, the AT3IONT-I Deluxe has you covered any way you need with an integrated 802.11b/g/n card and antenna, integrated Bluetooth and a Gigabit LAN port. The Bluetooth uses an Atheros Chip and is v2.1 compliant with a transmission speed of up to 3Mbps and a maximum range of 10 meters. The Wi-Fi uses an Atheros AR9285 chip to provide wireless speeds up to 150Mbps with 802.11n (This chip does not support channel bonding for 802.11n). The wireless chipset also supports the latest hardware security and encryption including WPA2 with AES.
The AT3IONT-I Deluxe uses an Intel Atom 330 dual core processor manufactured using a 45nm process. The CPU is clocked at 1.6GHz with a 533MHz front side BUS and 1MB of L2 cache. The Atom 330 supports HyperThreading, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3 and 64-bit instructions. The voltage needed for the processor is a low 0.9V-1.1625V with a maximum TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 8 watts. For video processing, the AT3IONT-I Deluxe uses the nVidia ION chipset. The ION gives a graphics boost over other integrated graphics in its class. The ION supports both CUDA and PhysX technologies and offers dual display viewing when used with the VGA and HDMI connections together. The VGA port supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1536 and the HDMI interface supports up to 1920 x 1080. To keep the chips cool, there is a large single heat sink which uses a fin design that allows for natural airflow to grab the heat and transfer it away from the critical parts. The memory for the board is placed in the two dual channel DIMM slots. You can place up to 4GB of DDR3 unbuffered memory with speeds up to 1066MHz.
When it comes to the connection headers there are just enough for what you need without going overboard. There is a single PCI Express x16 slot but be careful with what you use it for. You can place a dedicated video card for a boost but with the power being supplied by the brick there are no PCIe power plugs for the high end cards. Above the PCIe slots there is the front panel audio header, four SATA II ports which support up to 3Gbps speeds and offer RAID 0,1 and ACHI storage solutions and the front panel power headers right next to the memory slots. To the left of the heat sink there are two blue USB 2.0 headers in case you need more USB ports or wish to extend them to the front of your chassis. There are also three fan headers to power case fans around the board allowing it to remain cool and efficient. To the top of the board, ASUS also included a COM port header to support older devices but you need to purchase a COM bracket separately.
To power the SATA drives you need to plug in the "Y" adapter into the molex plug on the board. This allows you to power only up to three SATA devices including hard drives and optical drives. I found that only having three power plugs was quite odd considering there are four SATA ports on the board. For the Media Gate program and media playing, there is an IR receiver that can be plugged into one of the USB ports. This allows you to use the included remote control with your HTPC for your movies, music and more.
How about we put the hardware in the case and take a look at the software included with the AT3IONT-I Deluxe?