Gigabyte E350N-USB3 ReviewIndybird - April 17, 2011
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Much like the theme of the box, the board follows Gigabyte's signature blue color scheme. The first thing you'll notice on the board is the sleek dark grey combination APU and Chipset heatsink. Next you'll notice that all the components and connectors are in very standard locations, and while this is not typical for a Mini-ITX board, it is welcomed. Overall, the board isn't very crowded — there's plenty of room to make all the connections with working room to spare. Around the back you'll find that the heatsink is mounted via four screws in place of clips — also a welcomed feature.
On the back I/O panel, you'll find a very adequate set of connectors. The Fusion APU provides VGA, DVI, and HDMI (with audio) video output, allowing this board to be connected directly to anything from an old CRT monitor to a brand new LCD television. For audio, the Realtek ALC892 chipset provides your standard 8-channel analog output plus line-in and mic, along with a Toslink S/PDIF output. With six USB ports total, the E350N is a little lacking in this department, but this is slightly made up by the fact that two of them are USB 3.0. Last, but not least, Gigabyte was kind enough to provide a single PS/2 port, just in case you haven't bought a new mouse or keyboard in the last ten years.
Just because the board has plenty of working room doesn't mean there is a lack of internal connectors. On the bottom, from left to right, you'll find the front panel HD Audio header, two USB 2.0 headers, four SATA III connectors, the switch and LED header, a 3-pin system fan connector, and your 24-pin ATX power connector. Of course you can't help but notice the PCI-E X16 slot, but while it supports running full-sized graphics cards, it is only capable of x4 speeds. Not much to speak of near the RAM, other than the actual DIMM slots, which are in a single channel configuration and support 1066MHz out of the box, or 1333MHz overclocked. The CPU power connector is in its standard position right above the APU heatsink.
Once we take the heatsink off, we can get a closer look at the Fusion APU and Hudson-M1 FCH. The APU contains both the Zacate CPU and the HD 6310 GPU, which is really quite amazing considering the surface area of the chip and its 40nm process. The dual-core processor is clocked at 1.6GHz, with an L2 cache of 512KB per core. Out of the box, the core voltage ranges from 1.25 to 1.35 with a maximum TDP of 18 watts. The integrated HD 6310 GPU supports DirectX 11 and has a core clock speed of 500MHz. The second chip (essentially the southbridge) is the AMD Hudson-M1 FCH (Fusion Controller Hub). The FCH supports up to six SATA III interfaces with AHCI 1.2 support and 4-channel HD Audio. Lastly, this chipset does not support any type of RAID; an unfortunate omission in a media-oriented computer.
With the hardware out of the way, let's take a closer look at the BIOS.