Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 APU Mainboard Reviewajmatson - February 23, 2011
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For the longest time when you wanted a low power media board you either had to choose between low performance or high electricity consumption. The first truly low power processor to come on the scene was the Intel Atom CPU. While it had low power consumption, the CPU was very underpowered especially when it came to media and HD playback. After some time, NVIDIA released the ION GPU which when paired with the Atom processor, took some of the load off of the CPU and placed it on the faster GPU allowing for less choppy playback for HD video and light gaming but the platform was still limited by the low power CPU. Next, Intel released the dual core Atom processor to help alleviate the low performance of the original Atom but again it was still hit and miss especially when playing 1080p video on large screens. AMD was sitting back quietly watching and researching their next move to answer the Atom platform and now we have our hands on that answer which is AMD Fusion.
AMD Fusion is the world’s first Accelerated Processor Unit or APU as better known which combines a dual core processor, the NorthBridge and a discrete level DirectX 11 GPU fused into a single chip. This allows for full desktop processing with minimal power usage for everyday tasks including HD video playback and light gaming. Sapphire, which is well known for their AMD video cards, has been diving full force into the mainboard sector as well. We recently saw their Pure Black X58 Mainboard which was impressive to say the least. Again they are bringing us a big product with their first Fusion board, the Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 APU Mainboard. This board takes all the goodies that AMD Fusion offers and adds a bit of their own such as USB 3.0 support, integrated Bluetooth and more. If you are as excited as I am to see how this platform performs then let’s take a good look at the hardware so we can get on to the testing.
(editor's note: if you're a pilot like me, APU has a completely different meaning :))
The Sapphire APU Mainboard comes packaged in an esthetically pleasing box. Their choice of the black and red color scheme keeps up with the color design of their graphics cards. On the front of the box is a swarm of logos for things the Pure E350 supports including SATA III, USB 3.0 and of course the AMD Fusion design. On the back of the packaging are lists of more of the supported Fusion features and other elements that Sapphire has added to the board. There is also a small blurb about what Fusion stands for. On the right spine is a list of the specifications for you to consider when choosing this platform for your system.
The Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 comes packed with everything you will need to get your system up and running. Included with the board is the I/O back plate, two SATA III cables, the Driver CD, documentation and even a case sticker for your system case that says "Fueled by Sapphire".
Now that everything is out of the box we can examine the board closer.